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Remdesivir has ‘Little or No Effect' on Covid-19 Mortality: WHO Study

October 16, 2020, 11.23 PM

GENEVA, – A WHO-backed study found that one of the most promising Covid-19 treatments, remdesivir, does little to prevent coronavirus-related deaths.

The remdisivir antiviral drug was part of President Donald Trump’s Covid-19 treatment when he contracted the deadly virus last month.

The Covid-19 treatment was one of several reviewed in a large study of more than 11,000 people across 30 countries.

Read also: Trump’s Covid-19 Treatment is Regeneron’s Unapproved Antibody Drug

The drug "appeared to have little or no effect on hospitalized Covid-19, as indicated by overall mortality, initiation of ventilation and duration of hospital stay," said the WHO-backed study posted online late Thursday.

The data, which has yet to be peer-reviewed or published in a scientific journal, seems to contradict at least two major US studies that have shown that remdesivir can reduce the duration of hospital stays for Covid-19 patients.

Washington authorized the emergency use of the medicine, made by US pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences and originally intended as a treatment for Ebola, on May 1, followed by a range of other countries and the European Union.

No cure yet

US President Donald Trump has been talking up an experimental Covid-19 treatment he received as "a cure", but one of his top government scientists said referring to it as such may cause "confusion".

Anthony Fauci, the longtime Director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Disease, gave an interview to CBS News on Friday where he also referred to the coronavirus outbreak at the White House that infected dozens of people as a "super spreader event".

Asked about Trump's effusive praise for Regeneron's antibody treatment, Fauci said that talking about a "cure" could be misleading because it hasn't yet been proven, and the drugs that are currently available have only been shown to have modest to moderate results.

Read also: Regeneron’s Unapproved Antibody Drug Praised as Trump Recovers

"We don't have any indication — I think you really have to depend on what you mean by a cure, because that's the word that leads to a lot of confusion," he said.

He then walked through some of the medicines that are currently recommended or have been temporarily approved against the disease.

These include the antiviral remdesivir which has been shown to diminish time to recovery among hospitalized patients, and the steroid dexamethasone, which reduces mortality rates in patients who need supplemental oxygen.


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