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Has Remdesivir failed as a COVID-19 treatment solution?



Background:

  • Remdesivir was developed as a (“failed”) treatment for Ebola

  • Granted “compassionate use” status in the US for treatment of severe COVID-19

  • Gilead forced to withdraw FDA “orphan drug” status as a treatment for COVID-19

  • Chinese clinical trial the first to report


Chinese clinical trial:

n= 237 patients: 158 administered the drug to 158; 79 received a placebo


Case for Prosecution:

  • After a month, 13.9% of the patients taking the drug had died compared to 12.8% of those receiving the placebo.

  • The trial was stopped early because of side-effects.

  • Draft report states "Remdesivir was not associated with clinical or virological benefits”


Case for Defence:

  • Patients allowed to start up to 12 days after symptoms 1st appeared. Some evidence to suggest better outcomes if treatment started earlier

  • The trial was terminated early due to low enrollment

  • The report was draft and has since been withdrawn by WHO


Verdict:

We will know more soon.

  1. 2 phase 3 studies in progress

  2. NIAID is running a study

  3. Study on 2 regimens for moderate COVID-19

  4. >1,700 people on a compassionate use

  5. Drug available to studies run by other sponsors.

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