Antiviral drug remdesivir shows promising results in treating COVID-19

Saturday, 02 May, 2020

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Simone Wildes shared her excitement on "The View" Thursday after a recent clinical trial showed promising early results for using the drug remdesivir against the coronavirus, calling it a "step in the right direction". "From a Canadian perspective, we've had very challenging access to Remdesivir".

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Protease inhibitors are another group of drugs Krause thinks may prove to be useful against Covid-19.

In one statement, the company said that a large study of remdesivir "met its primary endpoint": meaning, in this case, that the researchers have concluded that hospitalized patients taking the drug appear to improve faster than patients given a placebo.

No drug now is approved for treating the virus, which has killed more than 230,000 people worldwide since it emerged late previous year. However, it's not all good news, as the drug might not be able to reduce the mortality rate.

If you feel like you're suffering whiplash from the new, conflicting study data on Gilead Sciences' experimental coronavirus drug, remdesivir, you're not alone. Today's news, that remdesivir might play a role in easing the burden of the pandemic, is the outcome we all hoped would be possible. Only two died. Those results were preliminary, as they were yet to be published. The remdesivir study from China that the World Health Organization (WHO) published was of particular interest. Specifically, the median time to recovery was 11 days for patients treated with remdesivir compared with 15 days for those who received placebo. The study was stopped early by the data safety monitoring board because of difficulty recruiting patients.

Fauci's surprising remdesivir remarks came on Wednesday during a White House briefing.

Hahn said he's still comfortable with the emergency authorization for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine and is awaiting data from clinical trials.

While the data was less than stellar, they were hailed by US health officials as highly significant since it clearly had an effect on the disease for which there are now no approved treatments of vaccines. "I would suspect that Gilead would have to work on an industrial level of production of the drug, and how much they produce will also tell us how much we could get up here in Canada". Trials have taken place globally to determine whether it would also be effective against the novel coronavirus.

The study was sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which Fauci leads, and which is part of the National Institutes of Health. According to a new report, the FDA will give the green light for hospitals to treat patients in severe condition. Both compare a five day regimen to a 10 day regimen and do not include a placebo control.

Despite the upbeat headlines about clinical results of a treatment tested on people with Covid-19, scientists warn it's no "magic bullet".

"Every day you're in ICU, that's a lot of stress on the body, that's a lot of recovery time needed". "I don't like to pooh-pooh other studies, but that's not an adequate study, and everybody in the field feels that", he said.

Remdesivir works by mimicking a nucleotide, one of the molecular building blocks of RNA, Live Science previously reported.

More detailed results of the USA study are expected next month. Gilead noted that clinical improvements were similar regardless of the duration of the therapy.

But Canadian experts were not quite so exuberant Thursday, saying they need to see more data from a promising US trial before recommending the drug as a standard treatment for the coronavirus. He did stress, however, that remdesivir is not the end-all cure for COVID-19.

Finally, remdesivir is also part of a larger World Health Organization study, whose results are yet to be revealed.

This study involved just over 200 people in Wuhan, China, and was also a randomized controlled trial - considered the gold standard for evaluating treatments.