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Remdesivir shows ‘clear-cut’ effect in treating COVID-19

A vial of hope: A technician inspecting filled bottles of remdesivir at a Gilead Sciences facility in California.

A vial of hope: A technician inspecting filled bottles of remdesivir at a Gilead Sciences facility in California.   | Photo Credit: GILEAD SCIENCES

COVID-19 patients who took the antiviral remdesivir recovered about 30% faster than those on a placebo, the results of a major clinical trial showed on Wednesday, as the top U.S. epidemiologist hailed the drug’s “clear-cut” benefit.

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The finding represents the first time any medication has been shown to improve outcomes against the COVID-19 illness, which has claimed more than 2,20,000 lives globally and ground the world economy to a halt.

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The U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which oversaw the trial, said that patients on the drug made by Gilead Sciences had a 31% faster time to recovery than those on a placebo.

“Specifically, the median time to recovery was 11 days for patients treated with remdesivir compared with 15 days for those who received placebo,” it said.

For Anthony Fauci, who leads the NIAID and has been one of the government’s point people during the crisis, “the data shows that remdesivir has a clear-cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery.”

“Although a 31% improvement doesn’t seem like a knockout 100%, it is a very important proof of concept because what it has proven is that a drug can block this virus,” he told reporters at the White House.

The results also suggested that people who were on the drug were less likely to die, although the difference was small. The mortality rate was 8.0% for the group receiving remdesivir versus 11.6% for the placebo group.

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The trial began on February 21 and involved 1,063 people across 68 locations in the United States, Europe and Asia.

Neither the patients nor their physicians were aware of which group they belonged to, in order to eliminate unconscious bias.

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Printable version | Aug 8, 2020 9:26:20 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/remdesivir-shows-clear-cut-effect-in-treating-covid-19/article31475618.ece

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