Packs of vials containing Remdesivir, a broad spectrum antiviral drug approved as a specific treatment for COVID-19, are next to an employee of the Egyptian pharmaceutical company Eva Pharma in the company’s factory, which started production of the drug this week with a production capacity of up to 1 , 5 million doses a month.
Fadel Dawood | Image Alliance | Getty Images
A study coordinated by the World Health Organization showed that remdesivir, along with three other potential drug treatments for the coronavirus, has “little or no effect” on hospital death rates.
The Interim results The WHO Solidarity Therapeutics study, considered the world’s largest randomized control study for coronavirus treatments, was published on Thursday.
The results showed that the treatment regimens for remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir / ritonavir, and interferon had “little or no impact on 28-day mortality or the course of COVID-19 in hospitalized patients”.
Remdesivir is one of the drugs handed over to US President Donald Trump after testing positive for the coronavirus two weeks ago.
The WHO randomized study was conducted in 405 hospitals in 30 countries on 11,266 patients, with 2,750 remdesivir administered.
“No study drug definitely reduced mortality (in non-ventilated patients or any other subset of entry characteristics), onset of ventilation, or length of hospital stay,” the study authors wrote.
Randomized controlled trials are considered the “gold standard” of clinical trials because they are more effective at removing bias. However, the WHO study has not yet been peer-reviewed, meaning it has not been independently rated by other experts.
The WHO results come a week after the drug manufacturer Gilead Sciences released the final data on his own large-scale trial of remdesivir. Gilead originally developed Remdesivir to treat the Ebola virus.
The Gilead study of 1,060 patients hospitalized with Covid-19 found that remdesivir contributed to significantly reduced mortality in patients in the early stages of oxygen support. However, no statistically significant reduction in mortality rates was seen in any of the patients treated in the study.
Gilead Sciences CEO Daniel O’Day told CNBC that the drug also prevents people from “getting sick” and “getting more oxygen”. The study also used the randomized controlled method and was peer-reviewed.
Gilead Sciences was not immediately available for comment on the WHO study when CNBC contacted them.
It was like that last week reported that Europe was getting redesivir amid a resurgence of coronavirus cases in the region. Gilead Sciences agreed to sell up to 500,000 courses of the drug to 37 European countries.
Despite the growing interest in treatments for the coronavirus, the schedule for a potential vaccine is still up in the air. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, chairman of the board of directors of the Vaccine Alliance, known as GAVI, said Thursday that there was still hope that a vaccine would be ready between the first quarter and the middle of next year.
“Obviously vaccines are not a magic bullet and we can’t guarantee, but the work so far looks very promising,” she said during a CNBC panel on the world economy on Thursday.