Antiviral medication Remdesivir had little impact on length of hospital stay of patients and failed to prevent deaths due to COVID-19, a clinical trial conducted by World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed. The medication incidentally was one of the drugs used to treat US President Donald Trump recently.
WHO conducted a ‘Solidarity’ trial to evaluate the effects of four potential drug regimens — Remdesivir, Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), anti-HIV drug combination Lopinavir/Ritonavir and Interferon — in 11,266 adult patients across more than 30 countries.
The WHO study found the regimens appeared to have little or no effect on 28-day mortality or the length of the in-hospital course among patients hospitalised with COVID-19, Reuters quoted WHO as saying.
However, a study conducted in the United States by Gilead earlier this month had shown that COVID-19 recovery time was truncated by five days following the treatment as compared to patients who had received a placebo in a trial conducted on 1,062 patients.
“The emerging (WHO) data appears inconsistent, with more robust evidence from multiple randomized, controlled studies published in peer-reviewed journals validating the clinical benefit of remdesivir,” Reuters quoted Gilead as saying.
“We are concerned the data from this open-label global trial has not undergone the rigorous review required to allow for constructive scientific discussion, particularly given the limitations of the trial design.”
Explaining the contours of the study, WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan had said on Wednesday that during the study, HCQ and Lopinavir/Ritonavir were stopped in June after they proved ineffective, but other trials continued in more than 500 hospitals and 30 countries.
“We’re looking at what’s next. We’re looking at monoclonal anti-bodies, we’re looking at immunomodulators and some of the newer anti-viral drugs that have been developed in the last few months,” Swaminathan was quoted as saying.