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    Remdesivir may not help patients with moderate COVID-19 – study

    MANILA, Philippines – A new study of remdesivir, an emergency use authorized drug for COVID-19 by the US Food and Drug Administration, raises questions as the vaccine may not significantly improve outcomes.

    Remdesivir
    Remdesivir is pictured during a news conference at the University Hospital Eppendorf (UKE) in Hamburg, Germany, April 8, 2020. Photo Credit: Reuters

    A total of 584 patients with moderate COVID-19 were divided into three: one group received a 10-day course of remdesivir, the second received a five-day course, and the third were treated without remdesivir.

    Researchers compared the results, including the side effects, recovery and fatality rates.

    After 11 days, patients in the 10-day group did not seem to fare significantly better than patients treated without the drug over the same length of time. Another bothering result was the the side effects seen more frequently in the remdesivir groups, including nausea, low blood potassium levels, and headache. The death rate was also similar.

    Researchers said the result was of “uncertain clinical importance."

    Taison Bell, an infectious-disease physician at the University of Virginia, said the latest study doesn't necessarily show that remdesivir is ineffective and suggested that more work must be done.

    The FDA in May approved sales of remdesivir on an emergency basis for patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19, after trial data showed that the antiviral drug helped shorten their hospital recovery time.

    The experimental antiviral drug, produced by the US pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, was initially developed as a treatment for Ebola in 2009. It also had promising results in preventing other viral respiratory illness like the 2012 Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which was also caused by coronavirus.

    In the Philippines, the Manila city government has purchased 2,000 vials of remdesivir to treat close to 200 COVID-19 patients with mild, moderate, and severe symptoms.

    FDA Director General Rolando Enrique Domingo said there is “positive feedback” on remdesivir, based on the initial results of a World Health Organization (WHO)-led Solidarity Trial.

    SEE ALSO: Philippines to conduct Phase 3 clinical trials of Russian COVID-19 vaccine

    — The Summit Express

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