A large study led by the World Health Organization suggests that the antiviral drug remdesivir did not help hospitalized COVID-19 patients, in contrast to an earlier study that made the medicine a standard of care in the United States and many other countries.
The results announced Friday do not negate the previous ones, and the WHO study was not as rigorous as the earlier one led by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. But they add to concerns about how much value the pricey drug gives because none of the studies have found it can improve survival.
The United States has secured nearly the entire global supply of remdesivir, a drug that has been effective in fighting coronavirus.
Remdesivir, which is manufactured by American pharmaceutical giant Gilead, has proven to help patients with coronavirus recover faster, according to The Guardian. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) secured more than 500,000 doses of the drug, accounting for the vast majority of Gilead’s July, August and September supply, according to a Monday press release.
Remdesivir, an antiviral medication that was developed by the biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, has been widely touted as the most promising drug to treat COVID-19, even though – so far – the new and expensive drug does not seem to be terribly effective at fighting the disease.
The anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, on the other hand, is cheap, has been used safely for decades, and has shown great promise as a weapon in the fight against the coronavirus – yet after President Trump mentioned it as a promising potential treatment for the disease, the media immediately blasted him for touting an “unproven” and potentially unsafe drug.