COVID-19 patients see recovery due to experimental drug remdesivir: report

Manufacturer says anecdotal reports are encouraging, but not enough to determine the drug's 'safety' or 'efficacy'

Drug Lab Research
Laboratory to conduct research on the coronavirus (COVID-19) in order to diagnose, test and develop a vaccine. (Photo by Pedro Vilela/Getty Images)

An experimental drug called remdesivir is showing great results in helping people recover from COVID-19.

CNN reported that patients participating in the clinical trial of the drug all have respiratory challenges and a fever, but after taking remdesivir, they have been able to leave the hospital in just a few days after treatment.

READ MORE: Black scientists to test antiviral drug to treat coronavirus

“The best news is that most of our patients have already been discharged, which is great. We’ve only had two patients perish,” Dr. Kathleen Mullane, a University of Chicago infectious disease specialist leading the clinical trial, said in a video with her colleagues about the drug’s promise, according to STAT News.

“Most of our patients are severe and most of them are leaving at six days, so that tells us duration of therapy doesn’t have to be 10 days,” Mullane reportedly told colleagues reported STAT News.

Black Scientist

Forensic scientist Jasmine Thomas prepares blood samples (Photo by Mario Villafuerte/Getty Images)

Currently, there are no approved therapies to treat the COVID-19, however, the National Institutes of Health has been conducting clinical trials to test drugs for treatments. Remdesivir is one of the drugs the agency is testing.

Remdesivir was created by Gilead Sciences, and although it was tested to treat Ebola yet showed little effectiveness in treating that disease, multiple studies in animals showed it to be highly effective at both preventing and treat coronaviruses related to COVID-19. If what Mullane says is true, it looks promising for humans.

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Gilead is now sponsoring additional tests of remdesivir in 2,400 patients who exhibit severe COVID-19 symptoms at 152 trial sites globally. The company is also running clinical tests of the drug on 1,600 patients who have moderate symptoms at 169 hospitals and clinics worldwide.

Results should be conclusive by the end of April.

“We understand the urgent need for a COVID-19 treatment and the resulting interest in data on our investigational antiviral drug remdesivir,” the company told CNN in a statement.

“The totality of the data need to be analyzed in order to draw any conclusions from the trial. Anecdotal reports, while encouraging, do not provide the statistical power necessary to determine the safety and efficacy profile of remdesivir as a treatment for COVID-19.”