4 coronavirus treatments, including remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, flop in large WHO study

4 coronavirus treatments, including remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, flop in large WHO study

The global research found no evidence that several treatments, including the promising antiviral drug remdesivir, had any real effect on patients' odds of survival or other outcomes.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has defended its study on Remdesivir after its developer argued that the results were "inconsistent" with previous studies.

The drug is manufactured by pharmaceutical giant Gilead Sciences and was recently used to treat U.S. President Donald Trump through his own coronavirus infection.

Gilead questioned the findings, saying that Solidarity "prioritized broad access, resulting in significant heterogeneity in trial adoption, implementation, controls and patient populations and consequently, it is unclear if any conclusive findings can be drawn from the study results". The National Institutes of Health also includes seven doctors paid by the drug's producer on its coronavirus panel.

"The trial tested four repurposed drugs, namely, remdesivir, interferon 1a, lopinavir/ritonavir and hydroxychloroquine".

A huge trial like this one, conducted in various countries with various health care systems, can lead to inconsistent treatment protocols whose effects can be hard to analyze, he said.

Earlier this month, data from a U.S. study of remdesivir by Gilead showed the treatment cut patients' COVID-19 recovery time by five days compared with patients who got a placebo in a trial comprised of 1,062 subjects.

The results are from WHO's "Solidarity" trial, which evaluated the effects of four potential drug regimens, including remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, anti-HIV drug combination lopinavir/ritonavir and interferon, in 11,266 adult patients across more than 30 countries.

The drug has not been approved for COVID-19 in the US, but it was authorized for emergency use after the previous study found it shortened recovery time by five days on average.

Repurposing approved compounds for COVID-19 can expedite regulatory review, but changing formulation, dosing, and administration route may add risks. "We are concerned the data from this global trial have not undergone the rigorous review to allow for constructive scientific discussion".

The trial recorded 301 deaths among 2,743 patients who received remdesivir and 303 deaths among 2,708 control patients who had received best standard care.

"A major clinical breakthrough looks different and warns us that the battle against Covid-19 is far from won".

Some scientists said Gilead's complaints merit scrutiny.

Differences in patients who participated in the trial at hundreds of clinical sites may undermine the quality of the data, said Prof Peter Galle, who oversees infectiology at Germany's Mainz university hospital.

But he added: "This provides more evidence that remdesivir is no panacea". But WHO posted them to a pre-print server.

The big story is the finding that remdesivir produces no meaningful impact on survival, Martin Landray, an Oxford University professor who led other coronavirus treatment research, said in a statement.

Women are more likely than men to consider COVID-19 a serious problem and to agree and comply with restrictions like staying home and wearing masks, according to a survey in March/April of more than 21,000 people in eight wealthy countries. We need scalable, affordable and equitable treatments.

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