A large study led by the World Health Organization suggests that the antiviral drug remdesivir did not help hospitalized COVID-19 patients, in contrast to an earlier study that made the medicine a standard of care in the United States and many other countries.
The results announced Friday do not negate the previous ones, and the WHO study was not as rigorous as the earlier one led by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. But they add to concerns about how much value the pricey drug gives because none of the studies have found it can improve survival.
President Donald J. Trump announced the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for convalescent plasma as a therapeutic treatment in COVID patients Sunday.
Convalescent plasma is the liquid part of the blood that contains COVID antibodies. Convalescent plasma given to COVID patients during research conducted since April by the Mayo Clinic has resulted in a 35% decrease in the incidence of death in the patients receiving the plasma, according to FDA Director Stephen Hahn.
The announcement is significant in Ohio where Republican Governor Mike DeWine has hinted for months at his hesitation to allow Ohioans to return to normal life until there is a vaccine.
The United States has secured nearly the entire global supply of remdesivir, a drug that has been effective in fighting coronavirus.
Remdesivir, which is manufactured by American pharmaceutical giant Gilead, has proven to help patients with coronavirus recover faster, according to The Guardian. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) secured more than 500,000 doses of the drug, accounting for the vast majority of Gilead’s July, August and September supply, according to a Monday press release.
Remdesivir, an antiviral medication that was developed by the biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, has been widely touted as the most promising drug to treat COVID-19, even though – so far – the new and expensive drug does not seem to be terribly effective at fighting the disease.
The anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, on the other hand, is cheap, has been used safely for decades, and has shown great promise as a weapon in the fight against the coronavirus – yet after President Trump mentioned it as a promising potential treatment for the disease, the media immediately blasted him for touting an “unproven” and potentially unsafe drug.
Dr. Anthony Fauci on Wednesday said a study of the antiviral drug remdesivir showed promising signs for treatment of coronavirus.
COVID-19 patients treated with the drug remdesivir recovered quickly from severe illness in a study conducted at the University of Chicago, according to the medical website STAT News.