- Fauci says Remdesivir helps patients to recover much faster.
- Gilead suggests that Remdesivir could become the first effective treatment for the Covid-19.
- Gilead shares jumped as much as 8.1% after the company’s statement.
- The FDA is in talks with Gilead to make the medicine available quickly.
- Gilead’s study and the NIAID trial could signal a profound shift in the race to get the novel coronavirus under control.
Michelle Fay Cortez , Naomi Kresge , and Justin Sink write for Bloomberg that clinical trial offers quite a good news regarding a potential Covid-19 therapy. The clinical trial is being conducted by the biotechnology company Gilead Sciences Inc.
Vital breakthrough in treating the virus
Anthony Fauci, the head of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is conducting the study, said at a White House meeting with President Donald Trump and Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards that the trial showed a significant positive effect in treating the virus.
News release by Gilead
- NIAID trial shows that its experimental drug remdesivir helped patients recover more quickly than standard care.
- It suggests that it could become the first effective treatment for Covid-19 that turned modern life inside-out.
- NIAID’s trial enrolled more than 1,000 patients internationally and compared remdesivir treatment alongside supportive care with a placebo.
- Patients who got the drug recovered
- in an average of 11 days.
- Whiile those who get a placebo recovered in 15 days, Fauci said.
Market swings back and forth
Finding a treatment for Covid-19 could move the world closer to easing lockdown measures. News of the positive results helped send the U.S. stock market soaring. It is despite data showing a deep contraction in the economy in the first quarter of the year.
Last week, the market swooned after apparently discouraging results from a Chinese trial that was halted early after researchers struggled to enroll patients were accidentally posted on a World Health Organization web page.
A separate study of 397 patients released by Gilead found remdesivir equally effective. When given for half as long as the 10 days used in the NIAID and other studies, some patients may fare even better when given less medication.
The potential ability to treat patients for less time would help ease strain on stretched health systems that must infuse the medicine, and make supplies of the drug last longer.
Two weeks after treatment, 65% of those who got the five-day dose had recovered, compared with just 54% of those who received the infusion for 10 days. The death rate showed a similar trend, with 8% of patients getting less drug dying, compared with 11% in the 10-day group. The difference wasn’t statistically significant, which means it could have happened by chance.
The five-day regimen “could significantly expand the number of patients who could be treated with our current supply of remdesivir,” said Merdad Parsey, Gilead’s chief medical officer.
Multiple trials of the drug are still underway. The NIAID trial measured how quickly patients taking it were able to be removed from supplemental oxygen therapy or were discharged from the hospital. The agency plans to publish the findings in a medical journal in the near future, Fauci said.
Trials in China
The results from the Chinese study in the Lancet have been long-anticipated. The trial was originally meant to enroll 761 patients in Wuhan, the early center of the country’s outbreak, but researchers couldn’t find enough people after its epidemic ebbed in early March.
Still, the results from 237 adults in the randomized trials, in which neither investigators nor patients knew who was taking the real drug and who was taking a placebo, are a setback for the drug.
Last week, the WHO prematurely and accidentally published results of the China trial but retracted it soon after. The WHO post showed that the drug didn’t show benefit for these patients in terms of preventing death and reducing virus load.
About 100 clinics around the world worked together on the NIAID study, with a central goal of seeing whether remdesivir could help more patients recover more quickly after 29 days of followup.
Unlike the Chinese trial, which was running even as strict containment measures were clamping down on the numbers of infected people, NIAID’s study had the benefit of casting a net for patients just as their numbers were exploding. After initially expecting to enroll 572 patients, researchers later said the total sample size could be more than 800 people.
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