Remdesivir is an injectable drug | Representational image: Flickr
Remdesivir is an injectable drug | Representational image: Flickr
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New Delhi: Data from Gilead, the pharma company producing the drug remdesivir, shows that the use of the drug on Covid-19 patients was associated with significantly improved clinical recovery and a 62 per cent reduction in the risk of mortality compared to standard of care.

The data, released Friday, includes results from 312 patients from Phase III of Gilead’s SIMPLE-Severe trial, which seeks to establish safety and efficacy of the drug, and a separate real-world retrospective cohort of 818 patients with similar characteristics and disease severity as the study.

“The analysis demonstrated that remdesivir treatment was associated with significantly improved clinical recovery and a 62 per cent reduction in the risk of mortality compared to standard of care. Findings from the comparative analysis showed that 74.4 per cent of remdesivir-treated patients recovered by Day 14 versus 59.0 per cent of patients receiving standard of care,” said Gilead in a statement.

However, the company stressed that while the findings were “important”, they needed to be confirmed through clinical trials.

Remdesivir is an investigational drug which hasn’t yet been approved by the Federal Drug Agency. In India, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare permitted its use under Emergency Use Authorisation for moderate patients.

However, in the first phase of its review, India reduced the remdesivir dosage in clinical management protocol following reports of liver toxicity. The dosage was reduced from six to five days. 

Also read: Coronavirus could become resistant to Covid drug remdesivir, study says

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Remdesivir in Covid treatment

Remdesivir is an intravenous drug touted to be promising when it comes to the treatment of Covid-19. It works by inhibiting the coronavirus enzyme that makes copies of the viral Ribonucleic acid (RNA) genome.

In India, the drug is currently administered for five days, with the first dose comprising 200 mg followed by 100 mg doses in the subsequent days.

The drug was first recommended by the US’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NAID) in April, after a study found that it cut recovery time to 11 days against 15 days on placebo. The preliminary results of this study did not find that remdesivir reduced the mortality rate significantly.

Alternatively, a study conducted by Chinese researchers published in The Lancet said that the benefits of remdesivir were not “statistically significant”, but “patients receiving remdesivir had a numerically faster time to clinical improvement than those receiving placebo among patients with symptom duration of 10 days or less.”

Also read: Remdesivir to HCQ: What works against Covid-19, and what doesn’t


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