WHO Says No to Remdesivir as COVID-19 Therapy


By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Nov. 20, 2020 (HealthDay Information) — The antiviral drug remdesivir just isn’t really helpful for hospitalized COVID-19 sufferers as a result of there is not any proof that it reduces their want for air flow or improves their probabilities of survival, a World Well being Group panel stated Thursday.

Remdesivir is thought to be a possible therapy for extreme COVID-19 and is used to deal with hospitalized sufferers, however there’s uncertainty about its effectiveness. Nonetheless, the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration accredited the drug to deal with hospitalized COVID-19 sufferers in October.

Within the new evaluation, the WHO panel of specialists analyzed information from 4 worldwide randomized trials that assessed a number of remedies for COVID-19 and included greater than 7,000 hospitalized COVID-19 sufferers.

The panel — which included 4 individuals who’ve had COVID-19 — concluded that remdesivir has no significant affect on the chance of loss of life or some other necessary affected person outcomes, corresponding to the necessity for mechanical air flow or how lengthy it takes for his or her situation to enhance.

The outcomes of the trials do not show that remdesivir has no profit. As an alternative, they supply no proof that the drug improves affected person outcomes, the panel defined in an article printed Nov. 19 within the BMJmedical journal.

Nonetheless, given the chance of great hurt, the comparatively excessive value, and the calls for on well being care workers (remdesivir have to be given intravenously), their advice is suitable, the panel stated.

The panel additionally stated they help continued enrollment into trials evaluating using remdesivir in COVID-19 sufferers, particularly to supply extra dependable proof for particular teams of sufferers.

The longer term use of remdesivir in treating COVID-19 sufferers is unclear, provided that it is unlikely to be the lifesaving drug many have hoped for, American journalist Jeremy Hsu wrote in a linked article within the journal.

He additionally famous that different remedies — corresponding to the cheap and broadly accessible corticosteroid dexamethasone, which has been proven to scale back loss of life danger in severely unwell COVID-19 sufferers — at the moment are a part of the discussions about remdesivir’s value as a COVID-19 therapy.

“It is turn into clear that remdesivir, at finest, has a marginal profit if any on scientific enchancment,” stated Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar on the Johns Hopkins Middle for Well being Safety in Baltimore. “It isn’t stunning, due to this fact, that the WHO guideline committee doesn’t help its use, underscoring the necessity for higher remedies that extra meaningfully affect affected person outcomes.”

Extra data

For extra on remedies for extreme COVID-19, go to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCES: BMJ, information launch, Nov. 19, 2020; Amesh Adalja, MD, senior scholar, Johns Hopkins Middle for Well being Safety, Baltimore