Gilead Sciences Inc’s remdesivir had little or no effect on the length of hospital stay or the likelihood of survival in patients with COVID-19, a World Health Organization clinical trial found.
The first antiviral drugs used to treat COVID-19 were among the drugs recently used by US President Donald Trump to treat coronavirus infections.
The results came from WHO’s “Solidarity” trial, which evaluated the effectiveness of four potential drug therapies, including remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, anti-HIV drug combination lopinavir/ritonavir, and interferon in 11,266 adult patients in over 30 countries. .
The study showed that the therapy had little or no effect on 28-day mortality or length of stay in patients hospitalized with COVID-19, the WHO said Thursday.
The test results have not yet been reviewed and have been uploaded to the pre-print server medRxiv.
Earlier this month, data from a U.S. study of Gilead’s remdesivir found a 5-day reduction in COVID-19 recovery time compared to patients receiving placebo in a trial of 1,062 patients.
“Emerging (WHO) data appear to be inconsistent with stronger evidence from multiple randomized controlled studies published in peer-reviewed journals verifying the clinical benefits of remdesivir,” Gilead told Reuters.
“We are concerned that the data in this open-label global trial has not undergone the rigorous reviews necessary to allow constructive scientific discussion, especially given the limitations of trial design.”
WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said Wednesday that hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir were stopped in June after they were found to be ineffective during the study, but other experiments continued in more than 500 hospitals and 30 countries.
“We are looking at the next steps,” said Swaminathan. We’re looking at monoclonal antibodies, we’re looking at immunomodulators and new antiviral drugs that have been developed over the past few months.”
Remdesivir received an emergency use permit from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on May 1st and has since been licensed for use in several countries.