Positive COVID-19 Drug Trial Results Show Great Promise

Patients taking remdesivir recovered in a shorter span of time: roughly 11 days instead of the typical 15 days.
Fabienne Lang

The full results of a study on the anti-viral drug remdesivir were published on Friday, and in a positive turn in the fight against COVID-19, they point out its clear benefits on coronavirus patients. 

Thanks to remdesivir, recovery time is shortened from 15 to 11 days in infected persons. 

The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.  


Positive results

Three weeks after the early results of the phase III trial of remdesivir already showed that the anti-viral drug could be beneficial in helping coronavirus patients recover more quickly. Now, the complete results of the clinical trial have been shared publicly, and they're sounding good. 

Remdesivir is not an exact cure for COVID-19, but it shortens the recovery time for patients from an average of 15 days down to 11, which shows promise.

The trial, which began in February, included 1,059 COVID-19 patients from 60 different places in the U.S., Asia, and Europe. Around half of the group was given remdesivir, while the other half was given a placebo. Patients were checked daily, to determine both the severity of their symptoms as well as any potential side-effects from the drug. 

The main point of focus of this phase III trial was to see how long a patient would take to recover. The other important points it looked at were mortality at two and four weeks after the treatment began, and what serious side-effects the drug brought out. 

So far, the study has pointed out the clear benefits of the treatment thanks to remdesivir. It also showed that the drug doesn't have to be taken in the early stages of illness caused by COVID-19, as patients who were given remdesivir 10 days after first displaying symptoms, in fact showed a better response to the drug than those who started earlier. 

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In terms of the mortality rates after taking the drug, these were somewhat lower after remdesivir was administered, however, not by a huge amount. Twenty-one versus 28 people died even after taking remdesivir, which does bring the number down, but not hugely. 

The research thus points out that taken on its own remdesivir is not yet sufficient as a treatment, given the still relatively high mortality rate. A combination of the drug with other approaches is encouraged by the researchers.

There are a number of other drugs being trialed to help minimize the impact of COVID-19, and remdesivir is certainly showing itself as a strong contender.

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