Remdesivir, antiviral drug, shows positive results in treating COVID-19

A study conducted by Gilead Sciences shows that the anti-viral drug has helped coronavirus patients recover 31% faster

FOSTER CITY, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 29: A sign is posted in front of the Gilead Sciences headquarters on April 29, 2020 in Foster City, California. Gilead Sciences announced preliminary results of a drug trial with that showed at least 50% of patients with coronavirus that treated with a five-day dosage of remdesivir improved and more than half were released from the hospital within two weeks. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A major study of the remdesivir, an antiviral drug, is showing some positive results. The study was sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases which is headed up by Dr. Anthony Fauci. Fauci called the findings “quite good news.”

“The data shows that remdesivir has a clear-cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery,” Fauci said during a meeting with President Donald Trump and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards. “This is highly significant.”

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The NIH trial of the antiviral drug began on Feb. 21 and was conducted by Gilead Sciences. The results have not been published in a peer-reviewed journal yet, but the NIH released the results after a data monitoring board analyzed the results.

The analysis found that the drug shortened the time that it takes for a hospitalized COVID-19 patient to recover when compared to a placebo. Fauci stated that the drug would also be administered to patients who got the placebo.

Dr. Anthony Fauci (R), director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, while flanked by President Donald Trump during the daily coronavirus task force briefing in the Brady Briefing room at the White House on March 31, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Remdesivir has been shown to help COVID-19 patients recover 31% faster. The recovery time was shortened from 15 days to 11 days. The results also show a slightly lower mortality rate, but there will be further study to that point.

Dr. Annesh K. Mehta, an investigator at the remdesivir trial site at Emory University, said at a news conference that, “We believe that remdesivir is the first medication to show a positive effect on patients with COVID-19.”

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However, Mehta stated that the drug has not “undergone the robust analysis that will be conducted by the statisticians and the scientists at the NIH in the coming weeks.”

While the study results are promising, Mehta warns that the drug and antivirals, in general, are not “silver bullets.” He says that the drug will not “immediately get rid of an infection.”

Fauci said that more studies will be conducted combining remdesivir with other drugs to see how various combinations compare to using remdesivir alone.

Remdesivir is an antiviral produced by the US pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences.