The World Health Organization on Thursday said it has found that antiviral drug remdesivir, which has been authorised for Covid-19 treatment in several countries, did not reduce deaths among patients or cut the duration of their treatment in hospitals. The results of the trial are yet to be reviewed.
The global health body conducted a “Solidarity Therapeutics” trial to study the effectiveness of remdesivir, anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, anti-HIV drug combination lopinavir/ritonavir, and interferon. It involved 11,266 patients across over 30 countries.
“Interim results from the Solidarity Therapeutics Trial, coordinated by the World Health Organization, indicate that remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir and interferon regimens appeared to have little or no effect on 28-day mortality or the in-hospital course of COVID-19 among hospitalized patients,” WHO said in a statement.
The trial results are available on preprint server medRxiv.
However, data from a study in the United States showed that remdesivir reduced patients’ recovery time by five days, according to Reuters.
Remdesivir manufacturer Gilead Sciences expressed doubts about the WHO study. “The emerging [WHO] data appears inconsistent, with more robust evidence from multiple randomised, controlled studies published in peer-reviewed journals validating the clinical benefit of remdesivir,” the firm told Reuters. “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.”
The drug had also been used to treat US President Donald Trump for the coronavirus, according to the news agency. The medicine was granted emergency approval in the country in May.
In India, Gujarat based-firm Zydus Cadila had signed an agreement with Gilead Sciences to produce and sell remdesivir. The firm had launched its version of the medicine in August, at Rs 2,800 for a 100 gram vial. Apart from Zydus Cadila, Hetero Labs, Cipla, Mylan NV and Jubilant Life Sciences also produced the drug in India.