Remdesivir can cut recovery time by around 30 percent, a new study has discovered, and one that produces 'clear-cut evidence' that it could become a front-line treatment, according to America's leading immunologist, Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
The study was carried out by researchers at Fauci's institute who recruited 1063 Covid-19 patients to be given remdesivir or a placebo. Those given the drug had a 31 percent faster recovery time—they recovered after 11 days compared to 15 days in the placebo group—and were also slightly more likely to survive the virus, with a mortality rate of 8 percent in the drug group, and 11 percent among those given the placebo.
The results have already kick-started an action plan, and Gilead Sciences, the manufacturer of remdesivir, has been asked to ramp up production and make supplies quickly available to critical care units.
But others aren't so sure. Hospitals in Wuhan, China, where the Covid-19 virus originated, have trialled the drug and found it didn't help patients recover any quicker. Ten hospitals in Wuhan gave the drug to 237 patients but concluded it didn't perform any better than a placebo.
Remdesivir was developed to treat the Ebola virus, and it was found to block SARS-Cov-2, the virus strain that causes Covid-19, in laboratory tests.