- BBC World News
The World Health Organization (WHO) has advised against the use of remdesivir as a treatment for hospitalized patients for covid-19.
In a guide prepared by international experts and published in the magazine The British Medical Journal, the health agency established that the drug “does not have no significant effect on mortality or other major complications for the patient“.
The WHO added that neither does it diminish “the need to require mechanical ventilation or the time to clinical improvement.”
Remdesivir is an antiviral which has been experimented with since the beginning of the pandemic as a possible treatment for acute cases of covid-19.
When US President Donald Trump became infected with the coronavirus in October, his doctors revealed that they were treating him with various medications, including remdesivir.
In fact, it was approved last month by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
An “appropriate” recommendation
The WHO position is based on the comparison of the effects of various medical treatments against COVID-19, including data from four international trials of around 7,000 hospitalized patients.
The medical panel acknowledges that the evidence does not indicate that remdesivir is not beneficial, but rather that there is insufficient evidence that it substantially improves patient outlook.
“But given the potential for significant harm, as well as the relatively high cost and resources involved associated with remdesivir (given intravenously), it is an appropriate recommendation,” the guideline says.
Gilead Sciences, the US maker of remdesivir, set its price at US $ 2,340 per treatment for governments and US $ 3,120 for private insurers.
The WHO, instead, recommends the use of “Known, inexpensive and widely available corticosteroid dexamethasone”.
This body motivates the continued trials of remdesivir, especially to find greater certainty about its use in specific groups of patients.
Approved by USA
WHO’s position differs from that of the United States.
By the end of october, The FDA approved the use of remdesivir as a treatment for hospitalized patients with COVID-19.
The go-ahead from the regulatory body was based, among others, on a clinical trial conducted by the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in April.
This involved 1,063 patients. Some received placebo and others remdesivir.
The study concluded that the drug reduced recovery time from 15 to 11 days.
The impact on mortality, however, was not so clear. The mortality rate for remdesivir-treated patients was 8%. In those who received the placebo, 11.6%.
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