World Health Organization advises against use of remdesivir for treating COVID-19

World Health Organization advises against use of remdesivir for treating COVID-19

Global experts with the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday that the anti-viral drug remdesivir shouldn't be used to treat hospitalized patients with COVID-19, regardless of "disease severity".

The WHO's warning comes as health officials around the world are clashing over the use of certain drugs for Covid-19, leading to different treatment options for patients depending on where they live.

The WHO said in a statement that the possibility that remdesivir causes harm could also not be ruled out. The steroid dexamethasone has been shown to save one in eight lives among people seriously ill in hospital with Covid.

The WHO guidelines stress that the drug does not save lives, based heavily on a WHO-sponsored study that was larger but much less rigorous than the US -led one that found it had other benefits. And the European Medicines Agency said on October 2 that it was going to investigate reports that "acute kidney problems" could be related to taking remdesivir. World Health Organization has recommended their "systematic use in patients with severe or critical disease".

Already contested, will remdesivir be totally abandoned in the fight against the coronavirus?

There have been claims of miraculous recovery, improved survival odds and shorter illness, but other studies have found it makes no difference to patients in hospital with Covid-19.

The investigational drug has been priced at US$390 per vial or US$3,120 for a full treatment course.

The recommendation, which is not binding, is part of its so-called "living guidelines" project, created to offer ongoing guidance for doctors.

A medical staff members Tanna Ingraham checks I.V. on a patient in the COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) at the United Memorial Medical Center on November 19, 2020 in Houston, Texas.

"But its role in clinical practice has remained uncertain".

Today's recommendation is based on a new evidence review comparing the effects of several drug treatments for Covid-19.

Solidarity, which analysed the outcomes from more than 7,000 adults admitted to hospital with Covid-19 in four randomised controlled trials, had found no evidence of a meaningful benefit, he said.

"The. panel found a lack of evidence that remdesivir improved outcomes that matter to patients such as reduced mortality, need for mechanical ventilation, time to clinical improvement, and others", the World Health Organization guideline said, as quoted by news agency Reuters.

"The trial showed an approximately one-day reduction in median recovery time for patients treated with the combination versus those treated with remdesivir", the article read.

The guideline development group recognized that more research is needed, especially to provide higher certainty of evidence for specific groups of patients.

Remdesivir is now approved for use as a COVID-19 in over 50 countries and was one of the medications administered to US President Donald Trump when he was diagnosed in October.

The drug has also won European Union approval for severe cases of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

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