Ulrich Perrey/AFP/Getty Images/FILE
Ulrich Perrey/AFP/Getty Images/FILE

The antiviral drug remdesivir has “little or no effect on mortality for hospitalized patients,” with Covid-19, the World Health Organization said Thursday, and it doesn’t seem to help patients recover any faster, either.

WHO says it’s “conclusive evidence” about remdesivir – and the findings are disappointing.

Until now, remdesivir was the only drug that appeared to have specific effects for coronavirus. It was the only drug specifically with an Emergency Use Authorization specifically for Covid-19 from the US Food and Drug Administration. 

Results of the WHO study have not been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal. But WHO posted them to a pre-print server.

The WHO study reviewed remdesivir and three other repurposed drugs: hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir and interferon. None of them helped patients live any longer or get out of the hospital any sooner.

The trial was able to generate conclusive evidence on the impact the drugs had on mortality, the need for ventilation, and duration of hospital stay, according to WHO’s press office.

“For each drug in the study, the effect on mortality was disappointingly unpromising,” WHO statement said.

Prior to the WHO study, a large controlled study of remdesivir in the US found that it shortens recovery time by about a third in severely ill, hospitalized adults with Covid-19, but does little to help those with milder cases.

President Trump was given a five-day course of remdesivir as part of his Covid-19 treatment, one of the doctors treating him said on Oct. 3.

The maker of remdesivir, Gilead, did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment about WHO’s study. 



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