• WHO study: Remde­sivir did not help hos­pi­tal­ized pa­tients.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - - Front Page -

GENEVA — A large study led by the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion sug­gests that the an­tivi­ral drug remde­sivir did not help hos­pi­tal­ized COVID19 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.

The drug has not been ap­proved for COVID- 19 in the U. S., but it was au­tho­rized for emer­gency use af­ter the pre­vi­ous study found it short­ened re­cov­ery time by five days on av­er­age. It’s ap­proved for use against COVID- 19 in the United King­dom and Europe, and is among the treat­ments Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump re­ceived when he was in­fected ear­lier this month.

The WHO study in­volved more than 11,000 pa­tients in 30 coun­tries. About 2,750 were ran­domly as­signed to get remde­sivir. The rest got ei­ther the malaria drug hy­drox­y­chloro­quine, the im­munesys­tem booster in­ter­feron, the an­tivi­ral combo lopinavir- ri­ton­avir, or just usual care. The other drugs have largely been ruled out for COVID- 19 by pre­vi­ous stud­ies, but not remde­sivir.

Death rates af­ter 28 days, the need for breath­ing ma­chines and time in the hos­pi­tal were rel­a­tively sim­i­lar for those given remde­sivir ver­sus usual care.

The re­sults have not been pub­lished in a jour­nal or re­viewed by in­de­pen­dent sci­en­tists but were posted on a site re­searchers use to share re­sults quickly.

“The big story is the find­ing that remde­sivir pro­duces no mean­ing­ful im­pact on sur­vival,” Martin Lan­dray, an Ox­ford Univer­sity pro­fes­sor who led other coron­avirus treat­ment re­search, said in a state­ment.

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