The World Health Organization has updated its current guidelines for Covid-19 to advise against the use of the antiviral drug remdezivir in the treatment of hospitalized patients, no matter how severe their disease.
According to an update published in the medical journal BMJ on Thursday, current data do not suggest that remdezivir, among other important results, affects the risk of death from Covid-19 or the need for mechanical ventilation.
The new WHO update comes about a month after remdezivir maker Gilead Sciences announced that the US Food and Drug Administration has approved remdezivir to treat coronavirus infection. The drug became the first coronavirus treatment to receive FDA approval.
Remdezivir may have received FDA approval, but not the WHO recommendation, due to emerging research ̵
“We’ve seen people realize that the benefits of remdezivir are insignificant at best – and the only benefit we’ve advertised has been that it can improve people faster. But the evidence for this is weak, not ironclad, and I think that’s what we see, it’s reflected in the WHO guidelines, just a more assessment of the data that’s out there right now, “Adalya told CNN on Thursday.
“The fact that it’s an antivirus tool that shows some benefit in certain trials – but not in all trials – was enough to make people want to use it because we didn’t have the tools, but I think it will be replaced soon. Adalja said, adding that the indication for drugs may change over time.
Some context: The WHO convened an international commission of 24 experts and four Covid-19 survivors to review the data and make recommendations. The recommendation against remdezivir is based on data from four randomized trials, including 7,333 people hospitalized with Covid-19.
“The panel concluded that most patients would not prefer intravenous treatment with remdezivir given the low safety evidence,” researchers from various institutions around the world wrote in the updated WHO guidelines.