USA optimistic about possible treatment of COVID-19 with controversial antiviral

The United States was optimistic Wednesday about using the antiviral drug Remdesivir as a treatment for COVID-19, after completing a first trial, despite the fact that its own manufacturer, Gilead, has warned that it has not yet been proven to be safe. and other studies point out that its effectiveness is not clear.

As the US battles to stem the spike in contagions, which number more than a million, just under a third of the 3,173,036 cases worldwide, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced they had completed a first trial with Remdesivir, developed by the biotech company Gilead Sciences.

The NIH reported that patients hospitalized with COVID-19 who were administered Remdesivir (1,063 patients in total) had a 31% faster recovery, specifically 11 days, than those receiving placebo, which took a time to recover. average of fifteen days.

Based on these preliminary results, the death rate for those taking Remdesivir was 8% versus 11.6% for those taking placebo.


One of the White House's top experts in the fight against the pandemic, Anthony Fauci, director of the NIH-affiliated National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), called this announcement "good news."

"What it has shown is that it is a medicine that can block this virus," said the epidemiologist.

For his part, US President Donald Trump expressed his wish that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approve the antiviral as soon as possible so that it can be used against the coronavirus.

"We would like to see quick approvals (from the FDA), especially with things that work," the president said at a White House meeting with businessmen.

The FDA said Wednesday that it has been holding "ongoing and sustained" discussions with Gilead to make Remdesivir available to COVID-19 patients "as quickly and appropriately as possible."


Despite these promises from the authorities, Gilead, based in Foster City, California, was more cautious and emphasized that Remdesivir is not licensed or approved anywhere in the world "and has not yet been shown to be safe or effective for the treatment of COVID-19 ".

"Gilead will shortly share additional data on Remdesivir from the company's testing with severe COVID-19," the statement added. "This study will provide information about whether a shorter, five-day treatment can have similar efficacy and safety to the 10-day treatment in the NIAID trial and others underway."

The company indicated that it expects to have data from a second study evaluating the efficacy of 5 and 10-day doses in patients with moderate COVID-19 by the end of May.

Remdesivir has not been approved for the treatment of any disease, but it has also been used experimentally with patients affected by Ebola.


In fact, a study published by the British medical journal The Lancet on a randomized controlled trial with Remdesivir, which was carried out in hospitals in Wuhan (China), suggests that this medicine "is not associated with significant clinical benefits".

The treatment did not accelerate the recovery of patients or reduce deaths when compared with the administration of a placebo, detailed the publication on the study carried out from March 6 to 12, with 237 adults, although the goal was 435, indicates the analysis. .

The trial had to stop as we were unable to recruit enough patients due to the sharp decline in cases in China, so the authors consider that more evidence from other ongoing clinical trials is needed to “better understand whether remdesivir can provide significant clinical benefits. "


The race to get treatment for COVID-19 comes amid a major deterioration in the US economy. and fears of a possible relapse, while several states in the country are "reopening" their activities.

This Tuesday Fauci alerted in an interview with CNN that a second round of the pandemic is "inevitable" and that the country may face "a bad autumn and a bad winter" if measures are not taken against the virus.

Precisely this Thursday the social distancing measures established by the Trump Administration expire, which today already indicated that they will "fade away", in response to a question from a reporter at the White House about whether to extend them.

The resumption of activity occurs while the US economy is in a dizzying decline, with a fall in gross domestic product (GDP) of 4.8% in the first quarter of the year, according to data released this Wednesday by the Department of Commerce.

USA He had not seen his productive activity collapse in this way since the last quarter of 2008, when a financial crisis erupted that led to the Great Recession.

Also on this day the Federal Reserve (Fed) released not very encouraging forecasts and its president, Jerome Powell, revealed that the country's economic activity "will probably fall at an unprecedented rate in the second quarter of the year."


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