WHO advises against use of Remdesivir for treating COVID-19

New Delhi (NVI): A World Health Organization (WHO) expert panel has advised against the use of the antiviral drug, Remdesivir, for patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19, regardless of how severely ill they are.

Scratching one of the few treatments that had shown some initial promise in severe patients, a WHO Guideline Development Group (GDG) of international experts said there was “no evidence based on currently available data that it does improve patient-important outcomes”.

The United States, the European Union and other countries have granted temporary approval for the use of Remdesivir after initial research showed it may shorten recovery time in some coronavirus patients.

President Donald Trump himself was treated with te antiviral drug among other medicines after he tested positive for Covid-19 in October.

The WHO Guideline Development Group (GDG) based its recommendation on a new evidence review comparing the effects of several drug treatments on more than 7,000 patients hospitalised with COVID-19 in four international randomised trials.

The expert panel, which includes four patients who have had COVID-19, concluded that remdesivir “has no meaningful effect on mortality or on other important outcomes for patients, such as the need for mechanical ventilation or time to clinical improvement,” the WHO said in a statement.

In October, the WHO said its global Solidarity trial using Remdesivir in the hospital treatment of COVID-19 had found it had little to no effect on the length of time patients spent in hospital or their survival.

Remdesivir, developed by US pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences for the treatment of Ebola, was one of several drugs that attracted global attention as doctors looked for more effective ways to treat the novel coronavirus.