Remdesivir useless in covid fight

Cornelia Mascio
Ottobre 17, 2020

In a study it described as both conclusive and disappointing, the World Health Organization said the antiviral drug remdesivir has "little or no effect on mortality" for patients hospitalized with coronavirus and it doesn't seem to help patients recover any faster, either.

But Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious-disease expert at the University of California, San Francisco, was more circumspect.

Earlier this month, data from a U.S. study of remdesivir by Gilead showed the treatment cut patients' COVID-19 recovery time by five days compared with patients who got a placebo in a trial comprised of 1,062 subjects. "The drug is only part of it".

Remdesivir, which was originally developed as a treatment for Ebola and hepatitis C, interferes with the reproduction of viruses by jamming itself into new viral genes.

"The outcome of in-hospital mortality is imperfect because deaths can of course occur outside of the hospital", Spinelli said, adding that remdesivir requires participants to remain in the hospital for the 10-day treatment.

WHO's Solidarity trial will continue to evaluate other treatments, including newer antiviral drugs, immunomodulators, and anti-SARS COV-2 monoclonal antibodies, the United Nations agency said.

Because of its design, there was "significant heterogeneity" in the way the trial was conducted.

Developed by the Beijing Institute of Biological Products, the vaccine has already been approved for an emergency inoculation programme in the country.

Earlier this month, data from a USA study of remdesivir by Gilead showed the treatment cut COVID-19 recovery time by five days compared with patients who got a placebo in a trial comprising 1,062 patients.

The move was criticized by some experts, who said the FDA had made the shift without sufficient evidence.

What Happened: WHO performed a global study - covering more than 11,000 patients in 30 countries - to find the effectiveness of four drugs, Remdesivir, Hydroxychloroquine, Lopinavir (fixed-dose combination with Ritonavir), and Interferon-β1a, in treating coronavirus patients. The trial also tested treating patients with hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir, interferon, or lopinavir-plus-interferon.

In the end, no drug or combination reduced mortality, the chances that mechanical ventilation would be needed or time spent in the hospital, compared with the patients without drug treatment.

Several previous studies had pointed to the futility of hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir as treatments against the coronavirus. Less data has been published on interferon, a molecule produced by the immune system in response to viruses.

Moreover, no advantage in secondary outcomes - initiation of ventilation and duration of hospital stay - was seen for remdesivir either. "The WHO Solidarity trial has done the world a huge favour by producing clear, independent and robust results, showing once more the value of large randomised trials in providing the knowledge we need to tackle the worst consequences of the pandemic". The WHO had announced the inefficacy of hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir against Covid-19 earlier this year.

Women are more likely than men to consider COVID-19 a serious problem and to agree and comply with restrictions like staying home and wearing masks, according to a survey in March/April of more than 21,000 people in eight wealthy countries.

Altre relazioniGrafFiotech

Discuti questo articolo

Segui i nostri GIORNALE