Fri, 10/16/2020 – 15:30
Remdesivir, the only antiviral drug sanctioned by FDA to treat COVID-19, does not reduce patient mortality, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) “Solidarity” study has concluded. The trial involved more than 11,300 participants at hundreds of hospitals in 30 countries. Treatments included remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir, interferon, or interferon plus lopinavir, given individually or in combination. An estimated 4,100 COVID-19 enrollees received no drug treatment at all. None of the drugs or drug cocktails curbed mortality, risk for mechanical ventilation, or duration of hospital stay compared with patients who received no drug treatment. The findings were posted online on Thursday but have not yet undergone peer review or reached journal publication. Gilead Sciences disagreed with WHO’s conclusions, pointing out the wide range of treatments evaluated under a wide range of circumstances. More rigorous investigations, the drugmaker argued, have demonstrated a benefit. However, the authors of the WHO study say their overall findings are “unpromising” for remdesivir, which was initially developed as a therapy for Ebola and hepatitis C. FDA granted emergency authorization on May 1, supported by an NIH trial that found the drug sped up recovery in severely ill COVID-19 patients. That study also ruled out a mortality benefit.