Preliminary results of a clinical trial with this experimental drug suggest that it is able to accelerate the recovery time of patients with covid-19 by 31%.
It was developed to combat Ebola, but Remdesivir is now seen by US authorities as one of the main promises in the fight against COVID-19.
“The data shows that Remdesivir has a clear, significant and positive effect in reducing recovery time,” he said Wednesday. Anthony Fauci, chief of the United States National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
The doctor and researcher, the scientific leader in the United States’ fight against the pandemic, also highlighted that this medicine It shows that “a drug can block this virus.”
There are more than 3,170,000 confirmed cases of this disease worldwide, which has caused more than 225,000 deaths, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University in the United States.
Fauci’s assessment of Remdesivir came shortly after its manufacturer, Gilead Sciences, released the preliminary results of a NIAID-supported study that this drug had been shown to make patients recover significantly faster than others who had been treated with a placebo.
But what characteristics does this drug have and why are there so many expectations about it?
From failure to promise
Science and medicine work in more than 150 different medications worldwide to deal with COVID-19. Most are existing drugs that are being tested against the disease that causes the virus.
Remdesivir is a broad-spectrum antiviral treatment still under investigation that is administered through daily injections.
It belongs to a type of drugs that act directly on the virus, instead of on the body’s immune response to it.
It was initially developed to combat Ebola but in that case it failed to demonstrate its efficacy in clinical trials, while it appears to have achieved better results in the fight against other viruses.
In the United States, it is in phase 3 of testing, which is the previous level to which any medicine must access before obtaining authorization for commercial use by health authorities.
Advancement in animals and humans
According to its manufacturer, “Has been shown to be effective” in blocking the replication of the SARS-Cov-2 virus (causing COVID-19) in in vitro tests in the laboratory.
It also says it has shown promising signs to attack the virus infection in animal tests.
Most relevant, however, are the results it has apparently offered in human studies.
Remdesivir was used in the first clinical trial started in the United States to get a treatment for COVID-19, which started on February 21.
Specifically, the mean recovery time of the patients treated with Remdesivir was 11 days, while the other patients took 15 days.
The study also shows a decrease in mortality, while while the rate registered by those who received this drug was 8%, among those who received the placebo it was 11.6%.
This clinical trial involved the participation of 1,063 patients who were cared for in 68 different locations, 47 of them located in the United States and an additional 21 in other countries in Europe and Asia.
But around the same time that the favorable results of this study on Remdesivir were released in the United States, there have been reports of less-than-favorable results.
In a separate clinical trial conducted in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the first case of COVID-19 was detected, the use of this medicine in patients with the disease did not offer favorable results, compared to another group of adults that was used as a control, except for those who required the use of fans.
It should be noted that this test in China only included 237 patients and that it was stopped early because it was not possible to get enough volunteers.
Many experts consider this to be a very small study to offer conclusive results.
In this regard, in the United States, Dr. Fauci pointed out that it was not an “adequate study”.