Tuesday, 21 September, 2021


World Health Organization panel advises against administering remdesivir to critical Covid-19 patients

Gilead Sciences Inc pharmaceutical company is seen after they announced a Phase 3 Trial of the investigational antiviral drug remdesivir in patients with severe coronavirus disease, during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease, WHO Advises Against Use of Gilead's Remdesivir as Coronavirus Treatment REUTERS Mike Blake
Conrad Doyle | 20 November, 2020, 10:10

The recommendation is a blow to the drug, one of the first thought to offer a meaningful benefit in treatment of coronavirus patients after a study showed it reduced their recovery time.

LONDON, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Gilead's drug remdesivir is not recommended for patients hospitalised with COVID-19, regardless of how ill they are, as there is no evidence it improves survival or reduces the need for ventilation, a World Health Organization panel said on Friday.

The WHO's Guideline Development Group (GDG) panel said its recommendation was backed by an evidence review that consisted of data from four global randomised trials of over 7,000 Covid-19 hospitalised patients.

The United States approved remdesivir as a treatment for COVID-19 last month. Gilead Sciences announced preliminary results of a drug trial with that showed at least 50% of patients with coronavirus that treated with a five-day dosage of remdesivir improved and more than half were released from the hospital within two weeks.

"The. panel found a lack of evidence that remdesivir improved outcomes that matter to patients such as reduced mortality, need for mechanical ventilation, time to clinical improvement, and others", the World Health Organization guideline said, as quoted by news agency Reuters.

"Veklury is recognised as a standard of care for the treatment of hospitalised patients with COVID-19 in guidelines from numerous credible national organisations", Gilead said in a statement, referring to the drug's brand name. FDA typically convenes such a panel before deciding whether to approve a drug in situations where there are questions arising from clinical trial data. Additionally, the US FDA notably puts a massive trust in Remdesivir after granting a broad emergency authorization for its use. The drug also secured regulatory approval in several other countries.

The antiviral is one of only two medicines now authorized to treat Covid-19 patients across the world.

It noted, however, that given the remaining possibility of important harm, as well as the relatively high cost associated with remdesivir, which needs to be administered intravenously, the recommendation was "appropriate".

The WHO experts wrote in The BMJ that their findings shouldn't be interpreted to mean that remdesivir is ineffective, but that "there is no evidence based on now available data that it does improve patient-important outcomes". Trump repeatedly touted the drug early in the pandemic, though medical evidence was lacking to support his claims.

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