The World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that it does not recommend the use of remdesivir to treat COVID-19 patients. According to her, he there is no evidence that the antiviral drug improves their survival.
The remesivir should not be used, according to the WHO Guideline Development Group. And this, regardless of the degree of severity of COVID-19 in hospitalized patients.
Remember that remdesivir is the first drug approved in Canada to treat the novel coronavirus disease. It is administered intravenously.
To justify its recommendation, the WHO Group argues that remdesivir has no significant effect on patient mortality. Nor on the need for mechanical ventilation. Nor on the time to clinical improvement.
It should be noted that the aim of this Group is to provide reliable advice on COVID-19 in a rapidly changing context. Ultimately, it’s about helping physicians make better decisions.
New analysis of the evidence
In early November, a scientific study published in The New England Journal of Medicine concluded that the use of remesivir was superior to that of placebo.
According to the study, the use of the antiviral shortened the time to recovery in adults infected with the lower respiratory tract.
The new WHO recommendation is based instead on a further analysis of the evidence.
This compares the effects of several drug treatments against COVID-19. It includes data from four international randomized trials involving more than 7,000 patients hospitalized with COVID-19.
In October 2020, an article not yet peer reviewed concludes that remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir and interferon have no significant significant effect.
The WHO Group recognizes, however, that the certainty of the evidence is “low”. He adds that it does not prove that the antiviral has no benefits. But the possibility of significant secondary damage, along with relatively high cost and resource implications, encourages him to make this recommendation.
What will happen to remdesivir?
The antiviral remdesivir has been used since January 2020 as a potentially effective treatment in severe cases of COVID-19. It is currently licensed or approved in more than 50 countries.
It was developed by the Gilead Sciences laboratory, originally to treat Ebola virus disease. To date, it has earned him nearly $ 900 million, as reported by Agence France Presse.
In Canada, the approximate cost of five days of treatment to remdesivir is 3,122 Canadian dollars.
Health Canada approved the use of remdesivir, marketed under the brand Veklury, at the end of July.
The antiviral has also been present on the European market since the beginning of July.
As for the United States Medicines Agency (FDA), at the end of October, it granted permanent authorization for its use for hospitalized patients with COVID-19.