Remdesivir has “little or no” effect on mortality from covid-19, according to WHO

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A sample of the drug remdesivir, during a press conference on the start of a study in particularly seriously ill patients at the Eppendorf University hospital in Hamburg, on April 8, 2020 in northern Germany


© Ulrich Perrey
A sample of the drug remdesivir, during a press conference on the start of a study in especially seriously ill patients at the Eppendorf University Hospital in Hamburg, on April 8, 2020 in northern Germany


The antiviral drug remdesivir, considered one of the most promising treatments against COVID-19, turns out to be ineffective in preventing death from this disease, according to a study supported by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The drug “seems to have little or no effect on those hospitalized for covid-19, as indicated by the rates of mortality, the start of respiratory assistance or the length of hospital stay,” explains this study published online on Thursday night.

Remdesivir, which was part of the experimental cocktail given to US President Donald Trump after he contracted the coronavirus last month, is one of several drugs reviewed by this large study of more than 11,000 people in 30 countries.

The data, which have not yet been reviewed by other doctors before being published in a scientific journal, appear to contradict at least two large American studies that showed that remdesivir could reduce the length of hospitalizations of patients with COVID-19.

The United States authorized the use of the drug on May 1, manufactured by the US pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences and originally intended as a treatment for the Ebola virus. The European Union and other countries later authorized it.

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