COVID-19 victims recover faster with Gilead’s antiviral drug

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Remdesivir from Gilead
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A recent 1,062-patient study published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that antiviral drug Remdesivir by American biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences Inc reduced the COVID-19 recovery time for victims by 5 days compared to whom the drug was not provided. 

The company and researchers stated that final data from the study showed that when patients who were on oxygen support were provided with Remdesivir (sold under the brand name Veklury) recovered 7 days earlier than those who were provided a placebo (fake medicine with no effect) after 29 days of treatment.

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Earlier, a preliminary study conducted in May based on a shorter span (15 days) reported that the recovery could happen in eight days, while the final data showed that the recovery happened a day faster.

Remdesivir is one of the first drugs which were used to treat the novel coronavirus infections and is also assumed to have played a significant role in US President Donald Trump’s quick return from the hospital.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration has provided emergency use authorization for the antiviral drug on May 1 which soon followed extensive authorization across the globe.

Reduces Mortality 

The extended study on the use of the drug on all patients gave very little statistically significant results on the role of Remdesivir’s role in reducing deaths from COVID-19.

But a separate analysis that looked at only the data from patients who were on oxygen revealed that the administration of the drug reduced the risk of death by 72 percent by day 15 and 70 percent by day 29.

Dr. Andre Kalil, an infectious disease expert at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the study’s principal investigator remarked that with this study the team “now has data suggesting that giving Remdesivir to patients on oxygen may significantly reduce their chances of death compared to other subgroups.”

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