Remdesivir did not reduce hospital stay or death in COVID-19 patients: WHO reports

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
  • Follow author on
Representational Image

According to the clinical trials by the World Health Organization (WHO), Gilead Sciences Inc’s Remdesivir had little or no effect on COVID-19 patients’ span of hospital stay or chances of survival.

The antiviral was one of the medications used recently to treat US President Donald Trump’s coronavirus infection and is among the first to be used as a cure for COVID-19.

The findings come from the WHO’s Solidarity Trial, which examined the effects of four possible treatment regimens in 11,266 adult patients in more than 30 countries, including Remdesivir, Hydroxychloroquine, the anti-HIV drug combination Lopinavir/Ritonavir and Interferon.

WHO said, the study found the regimens appeared to have little or no effect on 28-day mortality or the length of the in-hospital course among patients hospitalized with COVID-19. The trial results are yet to be evaluated.

Earlier this month reports from Gilead’s US analysis of Remdesivir showed that therapy shortened the recovery period from COVID-19 by five days relative to patients who received a placebo in a trial involving 1,062 patients.

According to Gilead, a US-based Biopharmaceutical Company, “The emerging (WHO) data appears inconsistent, with more robust evidence from multiple randomized, controlled studies published in peer-reviewed journals validating the clinical benefit of Remdesivir”.

“We are concerned the data from this open-label global trial has not undergone the rigorous review required to allow for constructive scientific discussion, particularly given the limitations of the trial design”, the company added.

WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan, said that during the study, hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir were discontinued after they find ineffective, But other trials continued in more than 500 hospitals and in 30 countries.

“We’re looking at what’s next. We’re looking at monoclonal anti-bodies, we’re looking at immunomodulators and some of the newer anti-viral drugs that have been developed in the last few months,” added Dr. Swaminathan.

On May 1, Remdesivir was approved for emergency use by the US Food and Drug Administration and has since been approved for use in many countries.