US drug major Gilead Sciences on April 29 announced encouraging preliminary clinical trial data of its experimental antiviral drug Remdesivir that's been considered as a potential medication against novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, pandemic.
The study showed that 64.5 percent of the patients who received the shorter five days treatment have recovered, compared with 53.8 percent of the group who were treated for 10 days.
The Remdesivir study is closely watched by medical experts and governments across the world as the pandemic had claimed the lives of around 2.2 lakh people. As of now, there are no approved medicines for COVID-19.
The latest announcement by Gilead comes just days after WHO accidentally posted results of a clinical trial conducted on COVID-19 patients in China that failed to show benefit when compared to the patients who got placebo or dummy pill. Gilead called the leaked Covid-19 trial data of remdesivir as 'inconclusive'.
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A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
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To track all live updates from the coronavirus pandemic, click here…What does the data tell us?
About 64.5 percent of the patients who received the shorter five day treatment have recovered, compared with 53.8 percent of the group who were treated for 10 days.
Outside of Italy, the overall mortality rate on Day 14 was 7 percent across both treatment groups, with 64 percent patients experiencing clinical improvement and 61 percent patients discharged from the hospital.
The initial phase of the study involved 397 patients randomised in a 1:1 ratio to receive Remdesivir 200 mg on the first day, followed by Remdesivir 100 mg each day until day five or 10, administered intravenously, in addition to standard of care. Gilead said no new safety signals were identified with Remdesivir across either treatment group.
Gilead said it plans to submit the full data for publication in a peer-reviewed journal in coming weeks.What are the shortcomings of the trail?
But the trial needs to be taken in the context of extraordinary circumstances.
“Unlike traditional drug development, we are attempting to evaluate an investigational agent alongside an evolving global pandemic. Multiple concurrent studies are helping inform whether Remdesivir is a safe and effective treatment for COVID-19 and how to best utilise the drug,” said Merdad Parsey, Chief Medical Officer, Gilead Sciences.
The most awaited study led by US government's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) that compared Remdesivir to a placebo in 800 patients will be announced later on April 29.Will there be larger trial from Gilead?