Scientists all around are racing for a possible vaccine and drug development, and most recently, American biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences announced that using remdesivir as a COVID-19 treatment for severe coronavirus patients produced positive results in Phase 3 clinical trial.
The study showed that severe coronavirus patients who received a ten-day treatment of the drug attained similar improvement compared with those taking a five-day treatment, according to their press release.
Remdevisir, a nucleotide analog with broad-spectrum antiviral activity, is a name you should know about since it has demonstrated activity against MERS and SARS, which shows it may have potential activity against COVID-19 as well.
Orphan Drug Status by the FDA
Previously in March 2020, the FDA had designated remdevisir for "compassionate use," allowing patients with serious or life-threatening cases of the virus to have access to the drug. While it has also been granted the investigational antiviral Orphan Drug status by the FDA, it is not approved by the FDA or anywhere in the world.
The study explored whether a 5-day course of the drug would achieve similar efficiency results
The drug's efficiency for the treatment of COVID-19 has not yet been demonstrated, and a new study aimed to discover whether a 5-day course of remdesivir would achieve similar efficiency results as the 10-day treatment regimen used in multiple ongoing studies of remdesivir.
In this study, the time for clinical improvement for 50% of patients was 10 days in the 5-day treatment group and 11 days in the 10-day treatment group.
By day 14, more than half of the patients in both groups were discharged from the hospital, with 64.5% of patients in the 5-day treatment group and 53.8% of patients in the 10-day treatment group recovering.
Early treatment matters too
Moreover, patients who received remdesivir within 10 days of symptoms onset had improved outcomes, compared with those treated after more than 10 days of symptoms.
"These data are encouraging as they indicate that patients who received a shorter, 5-day course of remdesivir experienced similar clinical improvement as patients who received a 10-day treatment course,” said Aruna Subramanian, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, Chief, Immunocompromised Host Infectious Diseases, Stanford University School of Medicine, and one of the lead investigators of the study, the press release reports.
“While additional data are still needed, these results help to bring a clearer understanding of how treatment with remdesivir may be optimized, if proven safe and effective.”