Clue For Treating The Coronavirus

April 2, 2021
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The results of a drug trial provide an important clue to treating COVID-19.

What To Know:

Nat’l Inst. of Health’s Dr. Fauci shared the results today of “the first truly high-powered randomized placebo control trial” on a drug used to treat COVID-19.

  • Drug: remdesivir (rem-des-a-veer)
  • NIH sponsored the trial that began in February and included 1,000+ hospitalized patients across the globe
  • Reduced recovery time of patients from 15 days to 11 days, or roughly 30%

Why It Matters:

There are no *proven* therapeutics to specifically treat COVID-19.

Dr. Fauci: “What it’s proven is that a drug can block this virus…We think it’s really opening the door to the fact that we now have the capability of treating.”

This will encourage further research, testing, and innovation on remdesivir and other therapeutics.

How It Works:

Remdesivir blocks an enzyme used by the virus to gain strength or replicate.

Administered through an IV.

Interesting to Note: Though tested for treating SARS & MERS (coronaviruses), leading to positive results for shortening disease and symptoms in animals, remdesivir has NOT been approved anywhere in the world.

“It’s active against every coronavirus that we’ve ever tested. It was very hard for the virus to develop resistance to remdesivir. That means the drug would likely be effective over longer term use.”

Vanderbilt University’s Dr. Mark Denison who has studied the drug's impact on different coronaviruses dating back to 2013. Additional information is needed about its use on COVID-19, including whether or not it can be safe & effective treating less severe cases of COVID-19.

Something To Consider

In a separate study on remdesivir in China, the drug did not lead to shorter recovery times. Patients receiving the drug vs. placebo did not experience any significant benefit.

The study was smaller and ended early. Researchers wanted more than 450 people enrolled, but ended up with just over half of that, due to decreasing number of COVID cases.

Dr. Fauci says the drug's impact on COVID-19 mortality is TBD. Initial data reflects a trend that those treated with remdesivir have lower mortality rates but a lot more information is needed. That said, the FDA says its already working with the drug-maker to secure availability of the treatment *if* approved.

COVID-19: FDA Approves First At-Home Test: READ

COVID-19: FDA Streamlines Treatment: READ

COVID-19: Sero Tests: READ

by Jenna Lee,