Preliminary data from a peer-reviewed clinical trial found that Gilead Sciences’ drug remdesivir shortened the recovery time in patients with Covid-19, according to a report published Friday in the New Journal of Medicine, another positive sign that the drug may be an effective treatment for the novel coronavirus.
. The double blind, randomized trial found that patients taking remdesivir had a median recovery time of 11 days compared to 15 days for those taking a placebo.
. Investigators found that remdesivir was most beneficial for patients with severe disease who are in need of oxygen therapy or a ventilator, while results from other patient subgroups were less conclusive.
. Preliminary results for the trial were previously released by the National Institutes of Health on April 29, and on May 1 the Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization for remdesivir to be used to treat coronavirus.
. But its effectiveness has not been conclusively proven: another, smaller study from China, published in The Lancet, found no statistically significant improvement in recovery time.
. The new paper also states that given the high mortality rate of patients treated with remdesivir, treatment with an antiviral drug alone is not likely to be sufficient. Read the full article in the New England Journal of Medicine,
“We are pleased that the findings from the NIAID trial of remdesivir in hospitalized patients with advanced COVID-19 have been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal. These findings support the use of remdesivir in this population, with the largest benefit observed among individuals who required oxygen supplementation but were not mechanically ventilated,” said Merdad Parsey, chief medical officer at Gilead Sciences.
The FDA’s emergency use authorization of remdesivir does not mean that the agency has approved the drug, but doctors can give it to patients as scientists continue to study it. Though it’s still unproven, remdesivir has more clinical data behind it than hydroxychloroquine, the antimalarial drug President Donald Trump said he was taking to prevent Covid-19. Hydroxychloroquine has captured the imagination of Trump and his right-wing supporters, despite a lack of data showing its effectiveness and some evidence indicating that it may actually be linked with a higher risk of death from Covid-19.
Rachel Sandler, Forbes Staff
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