Remdesivir most beneficial for severely ill Covid-19 patients, say researchers
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Remdesivir most beneficial for severely ill Covid-19 patients, say researchers

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The median recovery time for patients administered remdesivir was 11 days, compared 10 15 for those on placebo. Recovery was defined as the patient being discharged from hospital or found to be medically stable enough to be discharged.

Remdesivir, an investigation antiviral drug that has proven to be “superior” cure to standard care, is most beneficial for hospitalized patients with severe illness requirement supplemental oxygen supply, researchers behind the trial said in a paper published Friday describing the key findings that have been known for some time.

Remdesivir was found to cut median recovery duration to 11 days among patients administered the drug compared to the 15 usually taken by those who were on placebo or standard care, according to an announcement on April 27, which was followed by the US drug regulator granting it emergency use authorization.

“Remdesivir was superior to placebo in shortening the time to recovery in adults hospitalized with Covid-19 and evidence of lower respiratory tract infection,” the researchers wrote in a peer-reviewed paper in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious diseases (NIAID), which funded the randomized clinical trial, said in a separate announcement on the publication of the details, “Investigators found that remdesivir was most beneficial for hospitalized patients with severe disease who required supplemental oxygen. Findings about benefits in other patient subgroups were less conclusive in this preliminary analysis..

Remdesivir is manufactured by Gilead Sciences, Inc, a US pharmaceutical major with a strong presence in India. The firm announced non-exclusive licensing agreements with four Indian companies to manufacture and sell the anti-viral drug, Jubilant Life Sciences Ltd, Cipla Ltd, Hetero Labs Ltd and Mylan NV.

The trial of the investigation drug as the best therapeutic available yet for the virus that has killed nearly 339,000 people worldwide and infected more than 5.52 million — 96,082 and and 1.60 million in the United States alone — was conducted among 1,063 Covid-19 patients in 10 countries.

The median recovery time for patients administered remdesivir was 11 days, compared 10 15 for those on placebo. Recovery was defined as the patient being discharged from hospital or found to be medically stable enough to be discharged.

But noting “high mortality despite the use of remdesivir”. the researchers said, “it is clear that treatment with an antiviral drug alone is not likely to be sufficient. Future strategies should evaluate antiviral agents in combination with other therapeutic approaches or combinations of antiviral agents to continue to improve patient outcomes in Covid-19”.

The NIAID started a separate clinical trial earlier this month to evaluate the efficacy of remdesivir in combination with the anti-inflammatory drug baricitinib.