The controversial drug Remdesivir, considered one of the treatments most promising against Covid-19, it turned out, along with three other drugs, to be very little cash to prevent death from infection, which accumulates almost 40 million cases and 1.1 million deaths since the beginning of the outbreak in December.
The results are part of a study supported by the World Health Organization (WHO), which contrasts a previous study that made remdesivir a standard of care in the United States and other countries.
Originally intended as a treatment for the Ebola virus, Remdesivir was part of the experimental cocktail administered to US President Donald Trump after he contracted the coronavirus last month. Although it has not been approved for the pandemic in the US, it was authorized for emergency use after a study found it shortened recovery time in five days on average.
Therefore, the study, which does not deny previous research, does raise a new question about how much value the expensive drug gives to people sick with Covid-19.
According to the document posted on medRxiv, the effects on more than 11 thousand people in 30 countries, with 2,750 people randomly selected to obtain remdesivir. The rest received the antimalarial drug hidroxicloroquina, he interferon immune system booster, antiviral combination lopinavir-ritonavir or just the usual care. The latter drugs had already been largely ruled out for Covid-19 in previous studies, remdesivir not.
In results, death rates after 28 days, need for respirators, and time in hospital they were relatively similar for those who received remdesivir versus usual care.
The medicine “seems to have little or no effect in those hospitalized for covid-19, as indicated by the rates of mortality, the start of respiratory assistance or the length of hospital stay ”, the study explains.
“The big story is that remdesivir does not have a significant impact on survival”, He says Martin Landray, Professor at the University of Oxford who led other research on coronavirus treatment.
“This is a drug that must be administered by intravenous infusion for five to 10 days”And it costs around $ 2,550 per course of treatment, He said.
The Dr Margaret Harris, WHO spokesperson, attributed the difference in the conclusions of the two studies to the fact that the WHO was more massive.
“It’s just a much more powerful study,” he said. “It’s quadruple the number of people in all the other studies.”
He Dr. Andre Kalil, infectious disease specialist at the University of Nebraska, who helped lead the remdesivir study in the US, noted that the WHO study was poorly designed and therefore “unreliable.” Patients and doctors knew what treatment they were using, there was no placebo infusion to help avoid biased reporting of risks or benefits, there was little information about the severity of patients’ symptoms when they started treatments, and much missing data, he claimed.
“Poor quality study design cannot be solved with a large sample size, no matter how big“, Held.
Additionally, the WHO study tested 10 days of remdesivir, so some patients may have been hospitalized longer than necessary to finish treatment, making the length of your stay look poor compared to others receiving usual care.