World Health Organization recommends against use of remdesivir for Covid-19 hospitalised patients

Gilead Sciences COVID-19 antiviral remdesivir

Gilead Sciences COVID-19 antiviral remdesivir

"There is now no evidence that it improves survival or the need for ventilation", a panel of WHO-convened experts developing Covid-19 treatment guidelines said in The BMJ medical journal.

Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. The FDA said the drugs cut patients' time to recovery in a National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases-sponsored trial dubbed the Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial (ACTT-2).

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday issued emergency approval to a drug combo to treat moderate to seriously ill, hospitalized coronavirus patients. "Remdesivir has been recommended in several COVID-19 treatment guidelines so this new analysis will necessitate a rethink about the place of remdesivir in COVID-19".

While studies on remdesivir's efficacy initially showed some benefit against Covid-19, the largest study, run by the World Health Organization, contracted those results, showing instead that the drug had little or no impact.

Remdesivir, one of the drugs Donald Trump took when he developed Covid-19, should not be used in hospitals because there is no evidence it works, the World Health Organization has advised.

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The European drugs regulator has requested full data from the WHO-led Solidarity trial into the drug and will assess the evidence, together with other available data, to see if any changes are needed to its market authorization, he said.

The trial showed an approximately one-day reduction in median recovery time for patients treated with the combination versus those treated with remdesivir.

"There is no evidence based on now available data that it does improve important patient outcomes", the authors wrote.

The WHO made the recommendation on Friday as part a guideline on clinical care for COVID-19.

But in the USA and many other countries, the drug has been the standard of care since a major, government-led study found other benefits - it shortened recovery time for hospitalized patients by five days on average, from 15 days to 10. The world is hanging on to the recommendations of the experts from WHO but the United States' FDA already listed it as an emergency drug.

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Developer Gilead started a new study in July to assess an inhaled formulation on the treatment in healthy volunteers.

The rift over remdesivir, sold as Veklury, by Gilead Sciences Inc., is the most serious. Instead, they provide no evidence that the drug improves patient outcomes, the panel explained in an article published November 19 in the BMJmedical journal.

What's more, since remdesivir isn't widely available, manufacturers would have to make large quantities of it very quickly for most patients to have access.

They have warned there is the "possibility of important harm" when using the experimental Ebola drug - it can sometimes cause kidney and liver damage in some patients.

The WHO's recommendation, which is not binding, is part of its so-called "living guidelines" project, created to offer ongoing guidance for doctors to help them make clinical decisions about patients in fast-moving situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

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