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Antiviral drug remdesivir could hold promise in fight against Covid-19: Study

“The data shows that remdesivir has a clear-cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery,” Anthony Fauci, the top US epidemiologist who oversaw the study, told reporters at the White House

An investigational antiviral drug could hold promise in devising a treatment for Covid-19. In a trial, evaluating 5-day and 10-day dosing durations of the drug remdesivir in coronavirus patients, it was found that the administration of the drug in patients with a severe manifestation of Covid-19 achieved improvement.

“The data shows that remdesivir has a clear-cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery,” Anthony Fauci, the top US epidemiologist who oversaw the study, told reporters at the White House as reported by news agency AFP.

It was found that coronavirus patients receiving a 10-day treatment course of remdesivir achieved similar improvement in clinical status when compared to those taking a 5-day treatment course.

The trial was conducted by Gilead Sciences, Inc., a research-based biopharmaceutical company headquartered in California, US, with operations in over 30 countries.

This study determined if a shorter, 5-day course of remdesivir, would achieve similar results as the 10-day course of the drug.

The effectiveness of the drug was measured in terms of clinical improvement reported in patients ranging from improvement in breathing, increased level of oxygen support to hospital discharge.

“Patients were required to have evidence of pneumonia and reduced oxygen levels that did not require mechanical ventilation at the time of study entry,” the study stated.

Patients achieved clinical recovery if they no longer required oxygen support and medical care or were discharged from the hospital.

The study found that patients who received remdesivir within 10 days of the onset of Covid-19 symptoms had improved outcomes when compared to those who were treated after over 10 days of symptom onset.

Nearly 50% of patients in the 5-day treatment showed clinical improvement in 10 days while for those in the 10-day treatment group it was 11 days to report improvement in health. More than half of patients in both treatment groups were discharged from the hospital by Day 14.

“These data are encouraging as they indicate that patients who received a shorter, 5-day course of remdesivir experienced similar clinical improvement as patients who received a 10-day treatment course,” said Aruna Subramanian, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, Chief, Immunocompromised Host Infectious Diseases, Stanford University School of Medicine, and one of the lead investigators of the study.

“While additional data are still needed, these results help to bring a clearer understanding of how treatment with remdesivir may be optimized, if proven safe and effective,” she added.

Remdesivir is not licensed or approved globally. Multiple studies are underway to access if the agent is a safe and effective mode of treatment for coronavirus. Experts have called for further research on the drug and its effectiveness.



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