World Health Organization defends data after concluding Gilead's remdesivir flopped Covid trial

World Health Organization defends data after concluding Gilead's remdesivir flopped Covid trial

The drug "appeared to have little or no effect on hospitalized COVID-19" patients, as measured by the need for ventilation, the length of hospital stay and overall mortality, according to the study, which was posted (PDF) on the journal preprint site medRxiv.

Based on data collected from the trial, the World Health Organization has released an interim report of patients' responses to repurposed drugs (including remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir and interferon) for COVID-19 treatment.

World Health Organization chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said on Wednesday that during the study, hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir were stopped in June after they proved ineffective, but other trials continued in more than 500 hospitals and 30 countries.

Less than 1% of US dentists have tested positive for COVID-19, even though dental procedures generate aerosols that may contain particles of the new coronavirus, according to a survey of 2,200 dentists published on Thursday in the Journal of the American Dental Association.

WHO said in a statement: "The progress achieved by the Solidarity Therapeutics Trial shows that large global trials are possible, even during a pandemic, and offer the promise of quickly and reliably answering critical public health questions concerning therapeutics".

Solidarity continues to recruit about 2,000 patients a month in its search for more effective treatments for COVID-19 with many countries, especially in Europe, now experiencing a surge in new cases of coronavirus.

Remdesivir's maker, Gilead Sciences, said in a statement that the results were inconsistent with more rigorous studies and have not been fully reviewed or published.

Adults hospitalized with COVID-19 who did not receive any study drug, had no known contraindications to any study drug, with no transfer anticipated within 72 hours were eligible.

US Hoping for Two Covid-19 Vaccines by End of November
Meanwhile, Russia announced on Wednesday (October 14) that it has granted regulatory approval to another coronavirus COVID-19 vaccine.

Remdesivir, developed for Ebola by US pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, was one of the earliest treatments put forward for COVID-19 and was taken by US President Donald Trump when he was admitted to hospital with the disease at the beginning of the month.

Earlier results obtained from the trial as it was ongoing had already suggested that hydroxychloroquine wasn't effective at preventing deaths from covid-19.

"A major clinical breakthrough looks different and warns us that the battle against Covid-19 is far from won".

The WHO refrained from making a recommendation for how countries should deploy remdesivir, saying that guidance would come in two or three weeks after a review of Solidarity data.

Until now, remdesivir has been the only drug that appeared to have specific effects for coronavirus.

The big story is the finding that remdesivir produces no meaningful impact on survival, Martin Landray, an Oxford University professor who led other coronavirus treatment research, said in a statement.

"This is a drug that has to be given by intravenous infusion for five to 10 days, and costs about $2,550 per treatment course", he said.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) was also an active partner in the Solidarity Therapeutics Trial conducted under the aegis of the WHO. Almost 39 million people around the world have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and more than one million have died.

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