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Last Updated : Oct 17, 2020 10:23 AM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Government to review COVID-19 treatment protocol after WHO trial finds remdesivir ineffective

The results of the WHO's solidarity trial found that remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir and interferon had little or no effect on 28-day mortality.

Representative image
Representative image

India will reassess the protocol for COVID-19 treatment in the wake of interim results published by the World Health Organization of the trial which found that remdesivir, the antiviral drug widely prescribed against coronavirus, has no substantial effect on mortality, initiation of ventilation or duration of hospital stay.

Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), the anti-HIV combination of lopinavir and ritonavir, and the immunomodulator interferon were also found to have little to no effect on COVID-19 patients.

The protocol for the treatment of coronavirus patients will be reviewed in the next joint task force meeting headed by Dr VK Paul, member (health), Niti Aayog, and director-general, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Dr Balram Bhargava.


Read: WHO Solidarity trial finds Remdesivir has no substantial effect on mortality in COVID-19 patients

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"Yes, we will be revisiting the clinical management protocol in the light of new evidence before us," Bhargava told Hindustan Times.

The results of the solidarity trial conducted on 11,266 hospitalised patients in 30 countries found that remdesivir and three other repurposed drugs -- hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir and interferon -- had little or no effect on 28-day mortality.

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WHO discontinued hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir-ritonavir arms in July following the interim results.

WHO said the results of the trial are under review for publication in a medical journal and have been uploaded as a preprint at medRxiv - a non-peer-reviewed journal.

Explainer: What does WHO's Solidarity trial data mean for use of Remdesivir against Covid-19

The findings hold significance as the use of remdesivir (for restricted emergency use purposes) has been recommended for treating coronavirus patients in the moderate stage of the illness as investigational therapies" in Clinical Management Protocol for COVID-19 issued by the Union health ministry.

Other uses of the drugs, for example, in treatment of patients in the community or for prevention, would have to be examined using different trials, the WHO said.

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The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) was also an active partner in the Solidarity Therapeutics Trial conducted under the aegis of the WHO.

"The trial tested four repurposed drugs, namely, remdesivir, interferon 1a, lopinavir/ritonavir and hydroxychloroquine. The interim analysis showed no benefits of remdesivir in any groups of COVID-19 (asymptomatic/mild/moderate/severe/critical) patients," ICMR said in a statement on October 16.

"The trial comprised 26 actively randomising sites with 937 participants in India. We are grateful to the trial participants and their families for contributing to these crucial findings," Samiran Panda, Head, ICMR-Division of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases (ECD), and Director, ICMR-NARI said.

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First Published on Oct 17, 2020 10:23 am