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NIH: Clinical Trial Shows Remdesivir Improves Coronavirus Outcomes

Analysis  |  By Christopher Cheney  
   April 29, 2020

A study involving more than 1,000 patients finds remdesivir speeds coronavirus recovery and lowers mortality rate by 3.6 percentage points.

Remdesivir is the first medication shown to have a therapeutic effect on the coronavirus, the National Institutes of Health reported today.

Since the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December, there has been no scientifically proven treatment and no vaccine for the deadly illness.

Preliminary data from a randomized, controlled trial featuring more than 1,000 patients indicates that severely ill COVID-19 patients with lung involvement recovered faster than similar patients given placebo, NIH reported. The clinical trial was sponsored by NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The preliminary data from the clinical trial includes two key results:

  • Patients given remdesivir recovered 31% faster than patients who received placebo. Recovery was defined as being fit for hospital discharge or returning to normal activity level. The median time to recovery was 11 days for remdesivir patients and 15 days for the control group.
  • Patients given remdesivir experienced a lower mortality rate—8.0% compared to 11.6% for the control group.

The clinical trial was conducted in 68 sites—47 in the United States and 21 in European and Asian countries.

Remdesivir, which has shown promising results in animal models for treating coronavirus, was developed by Gilead Sciences Inc. The investigational broad-spectrum antiviral medication is administered through daily infusion for 10 days, NIH reported.

Christopher Cheney is the CMO editor at HealthLeaders.

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