Anti-Viral Drug Remdesivir Best Hope Against COVID-19 – New Study

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Remdesivir, the only drug cleared to treat Covid-19, sped the recovery time of patients with the disease, but its benefit appeared much more limited in patients who needed mechanical ventilation as part of their treatment, according to eagerly awaited results of a clinical trial.

Complete results from the research, which was carried out by US government agency the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), were published by leading medical periodical the New England Journal of Medicine.

The United States authorized the emergency use of remdesivir in hospitals on May 1, followed by Japan, while Europe is considering following suit.

The study found that remdesivir, injected intravenously daily for 10 days, accelerated the recovery of hospitalized COVID-19 patients compared to a placebo in clinical tests on just over a thousand patients across 10 countries.

On April 29, NIAID director Anthony Fauci, who has become the US government’s trusted face on the coronavirus pandemic, said preliminary evidence indicated remdesivir had a “clear-cut, significant and positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery.”

The National Institutes of Health, of which the NIAID is a part, said Friday in a statement online that investigators found “remdesivir was most beneficial for hospitalized patients with severe disease who required supplemental oxygen.”

But the authors of the trial wrote that the drug did not prevent all deaths.

“Given high mortality despite the use of remdesivir, it is clear that treatment with an anti-viral drug alone is not likely to be sufficient,” they said.

About 7.1 percent of patients given remdesivir in the trial group died within 14 days — compared with 11.9 percent in the placebo group.

However, the result is just below the statistical reliability threshold, meaning it could be down to chance rather than the capability of the drug.

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