WHO Says No to Remdesivir as COVID-19 Therapy

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By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Nov. 20, 2020 (HealthDay Information) — The antiviral drug remdesivir is just not really useful 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 possibilities of survival, a World Well being Group panel stated Thursday.

Remdesivir is considered a possible therapy for extreme COVID-19 and is used to deal with hospitalized sufferers, however there’s uncertainty about its effectiveness. However, the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration authorised 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 therapies 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 every other essential affected person outcomes, comparable 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 revealed Nov. 19 within the BMJmedical journal.

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

The panel additionally stated they help continued enrollment into trials evaluating the usage of 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, on condition 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 therapies — comparable to the cheap and extensively obtainable corticosteroid dexamethasone, which has been proven to cut back loss of life danger in severely unwell COVID-19 sufferers — are actually 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 medical enchancment,” stated Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar on the Johns Hopkins Heart for Well being Safety in Baltimore. “It isn’t stunning, subsequently, that the WHO guideline committee doesn’t help its use, underscoring the necessity for higher therapies that extra meaningfully affect affected person outcomes.”

Extra data

For extra on therapies for extreme COVID-19, go to the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.

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

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