Dr. Anthony Fauci announced today that clinical trials of Gilead’s antiviral drug, Remdesivir, showed positive results. A statement released by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which conducted the study, revealed that preliminary data showed that “hospitalized patients with advanced COVID-19 and lung involvement who received Remdesivir recovered faster than similar patients who received placebo.”
Patients who took Remdesivir recovered, on average, 31 percent faster than those who received a placebo, which was hailed by Fauci as “highly significant.” Fauci suggested that Remdesivir is likely to become the standard of care for COVID-19, for which there are not yet any other approved treatments. “The FDA, literally as we speak, is working with Gilead to figure out mechanisms to make this easily available to those who need it.”
An earlier study out of China, which was abandoned due to a lack of patients, showed no medical benefit from the drug. Moreover, this particular study — while showing that patients who took the medication improved more quickly — also revealed that the death rates between those who took the medication (11 percent) and those in the placebo group (8 percent) were statistically insignificant.
Fauci added that, though the results were not a “knockout,” the data showed “very important proof of concept.” A study released by Gilead revealed similar results, in addition to data suggesting that a five-day course is just as good as a 10-day course.
The FDA will approve the emergency use of Remdesivir based on the study. It is likely, however, that the Gilead drug will continue only to be used in the hospital setting. However, experts suggest that with antivirals, the sooner a patient receives the treatment the more effective it is likely to be. Clinical studies on those with milder symptoms are still being conducted and results are expected next month.