The global health agency says there is no evidence that the drug improves survival rates or reduces the need for ventilation.
An expert panel of the World Health Organization (WHO) has advised against the use of the antiviral drug remdesivir for hospitalized patients with COVID-19, no matter how severe, because there is currently no evidence that improves survival or the need for ventilation.
The WHO Guidance Development Group (WHO) based its recommendation on a new review of evidence comparing the effects of several drug treatments on more than 7,000 hospitalized patients with COVID-19 in four randomized trials. international.
The panel of experts, which includes four patients who have had COVID-19, concluded that remdesivir has no significant effect on mortality or other important outcomes for patients, such as the need for mechanical ventilation or time for clinical improvement, said the WHO in a statement
In October, the WHO said the global Solidarity test using remdesivir in the inpatient treatment of COVID-19 had found to have little or no effect on the length of time patients spent in hospital or their survival.
Remdesivir, developed by US pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences for the treatment of Ebola, was one of several drugs that attracted global attention as doctors sought more effective ways to treat the new coronavirus, which appeared in China late last year. .
Authorized for emergency use was granted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on May 1 and received by U.S. President Donald Trump when he was hospitalized with COVID-19 in early October. The drug also secured regulatory approval in several other countries.
The Panel acknowledged that the evidence did not establish that remdesivir had any benefit, rather that there was no evidence given data currently available that they improved significant patient outcomes.
He noted, however, that given the residual potential of significant harm as well as the relatively high cost associated with remdesivir, which should be administered intravenously, the recommendation was appropriate.
In July, Gilead priced remdesivir at $ 2,340 for a five-day treatment in the U.S. and several other developed countries.
The recommendation, published in the BMJ, is part of WHO guidelines for living, which are used in fast-moving research fields such as COVID-19 because they allow researchers to update summaries of evidence previously verified and evaluated by colleagues as new information becomes available.
Gilead has not yet released full clinical trial reports on remdesivir, and the panel said it supported ongoing enrollment in evidence evaluating the drug, particularly to ensure a higher degree of evidence for specific patient groups.
Since the early excitement about remdesivir, alternative treatments have emerged including the free and available steroid dexamethasone, which is commonly used to reduce inflammation in other diseases such as arthritis.
In the results of trials announced in June, dexamethasone was shown to reduce mortality rates by about one-third among the most sick COVID-19 patients.
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