Britain's Medicines Agency Authorizes the Use of Remdesivir for COVID-19 Patients

Henrietta Brewer
May 28, 2020

The National Institutes of Health, of which the NIAID is a part, said, "remdesivir was most beneficial for hospitalized patients with severe disease who required supplemental oxygen". "Given the strength of the results about remdesivir, these findings were deemed to be of immediate importance for the care of patients still participating in the trial as well as for those outside the trial who might benefit from treatment with remdesivir".

Treatment options in response to this global public health emergency are urgently needed and we are grateful to the United Kingdom government and the MHRA for their continued support and collaboration to make this medicine available to those patients who are most likely to benefit from it.

"The latest expert scientific advice is at the heart of every decision we make, and we will continue to monitor remdesivir's success in clinical trials across the country to ensure the best results for United Kingdom patients".

Remdesivir also reduced mortality: the proportion of deaths among patients in the experimental group was 7.1%, and in the control group - 11.9%. A higher proportion of patients were discharged in the 5-day compared with the 10-day group (60% vs 52%) and mortality was lower in the 5-day group (8% vs 11%, respectively).

There were 1,107 patients assessed for eligibility, and 1,063 patients were randomized - 541 to remdesivir and 522 to placebo.

But others have raised concerns about the trial's data, noting researchers changed the study's main goal before they analyzed the data, which could lead to skewed results, STAT News reports.

The preliminary findings, based on an analysis of 1059 participants, noted that patients who received remdesivir had a shorter time to recovery than those who received placebo. Several antiviral and anti-inflammatory drugs are under investigation, but remdesivir was the first out of the gate with evidence of modest effects. Last week, Trump announced that he's been taking the drug in the hopes of preventing the new coronavirus despite a lack of evidence the drug can prevent Covid-19. "Texas will continue to act swiftly to provide for our hospitals, secure treatment for patients, and slow the spread of COVID-19".

An earlier phase 3 readout showed that a five-day course seemed to be as effective as the ten-day regimen in treating infections with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

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