Remdesivir, Potential Drug To Treat COVID-19 Fails In First Human Trial


Medical researchers and scientists around the world are working to develop a vaccine for coronavirus or a drug that can treat those infected with the disease. Remdesivir, a potential COVID-19 antiviral drug has reportedly failed in its first clinical human trial in China. Developed by the US firm Gilead Sciences, the drug had high bets on it being successful in treating SARS CoV-2. However, in a full trial conducted on 237 patients in China, the drug has failed to impress. On Thursday, WHO released a report (which has now been deleted) that informed about the failed Chinese trial of Remdesivir. The accidentally released report stated that the drug neither improved the patient’s condition nor reduced the presence of the virus in the bloodstream.  It even resulted in adverse side-effects. Subsequently, Gilead has claimed that the report has “mischaracterized” the trial and study of the drug.

Remdesivir Human Trial Failed

Remdesivir had the confidence of both the doctors and politicians that it could be a success in the efforts to develop an antiviral drug for COVID-19. Even the US President, Donald Trump claimed that the drug was “promising”.  In “gold standard” trial conducted on 237 patients in China, 158 were given Remdesivir while the other 79 received placebo. As a result, there was no difference in the recovery time of the two groups of patients under study. In fact, after a month, nearly 14 percent of patients who took the drug had died, compared to 12.8 percent of those who were on placebo. Owing to the side-effects, the trial was terminated at an early stage.

The drug neither improved the patient’s condition nor reduced the presence of the virus in the bloodstream.  It even resulted in adverse side-effects

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The report that was published by WHO stated, “Remdesivir was stopped early in 18 (11.6 percent) patients because of adverse effects, compared with 4 (5.1 percent) in the control group.” It also claimed “Remdesivir was not associated with clinical or virological benefits.”

Report Accidently Uploaded by WHO

WHO has now deleted the post with the results of the trial, saying that it was accidentally uploaded too soon. WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic said, “A draft document was provided by the authors to WHO and inadvertently posted on the website and taken down as soon as the mistake was noticed. The manuscript is undergoing peer review and we are waiting for a final version before WHO comments.”

Also Read: Coronavirus Outbreak Has Not Yet Peaked Says Virologist Polly Roy

Gilead Claims Of Positive Benefits

Referring to the report released by WHO, Gilead claimed that it has mischaracterized the study. The trial terminated prematurely, Gilead claimed, because of the low number of enrolment. “The study results are inconclusive, though trends in the data suggest a potential benefit for Remdesivir, particularly among patients treated early in the disease.”

The UK Starts Human Trial Of Vaccine

The UK has begun the trial of a potential vaccine for COVID-19 on Thursday. The vaccine has been developed by a team at Oxford University in under three months. Professor of Vaccinology at the Jenner Institute, Sarah Gilbert led the pre-clinical research of the vaccine. She told BBC that she is 80 percent confident that the vaccine will work. More than 800 people have been recruited for the human trial, half of which will be injected with the vaccine while the rest will receive a control vaccine. Two volunteers have already been injected, thus commencing the trial.

Also Read: Dr June Almeida: The Woman Who Discovered The First Coronavirus

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