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Drugmaker’s study shows Remdesivir reduces COVID-19 hospitalizations

DCNFHarry Wilmerding, DCNF

Gilead Sciences announced in a press release Wednesday that its COVID-19 drug remdesivir reduces hospitalizations by 87% in high-risk patients.

The study consisted of 562 patients who were randomly given either remdesivir to a placebo. The company said that it saw an 87% reduction in hospitalizations after day 28, according to the press release. The trial was supposed to have over 1,000 subjects but the Gilead halted enrollment after other COVID-19 drugs became readily available.

The company also said that it saw an 81% reduction in medical visits due to COVID-19. One patient in the placebo group died, but it occurred after the day 28 cut-off for the trial.

“Antiviral medications provide maximal benefit when used early in the disease course. Last summer, data from clinical trials demonstrated the benefit of remdesivir in patients hospitalized with COVID-19, even not yet requiring oxygen,” Robert L. Gottlieb, cardiologist and principal investigator at the Baylor University Medical Center, said in the press release.

“These latest data show remdesivir’s potential to help high-risk patients recover before they get sicker and stay out of the hospital altogether,” Gottlieb said. “Remdesivir, also known as Veklury, is an effective antiviral for the treatment of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 and essential tool to help reduce disease progression.”

The Food and Drug Administration approved the antiviral drug on October 22, 2020, making it the first COVID-19 treatment authorized by the FDA.

The World Health Organization advised against the use of remdisivir for treating COVID-19, which was used to treat former President Trump when he was hospitalized with the virus in October.

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