COVID-19 treatment: WHO suspends remdesivir from the list of medicine for treating coronavirus
The popular antiviral drug developed by US pharmaceutical company, Gilead Sciences for treating Ebola was initially being used as a potentially effective treatment for severe COVID-19. It has been dropped from the official list of medicines that are used as a benchmark for procurement by developing countries because of negative recommendation.
The WHO Guideline Development Group (GDG) said that repurposed medicine should not be used for treating patients regardless of how severely ill they are because there is no evidence that proves that remdesivir improves the survival rate of coronavirus patients.
The decision was made in the light of a review carried out to analyse the effectiveness of several drugs used for treating the respiratory infection caused by the new strain of the virus. It looked into the treatment history of more than 7,000 patients hospitalised with COVID-19 in four international randomised trials.
“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.
Before the suspension of the Gilead’s manufactured drug, WHO had warned against its use on COVID-19 patients.
It was only last month when the WHO clearly stated that its global Solidarity trial using remdesivir in the hospital treatment of COVID-19 had found that the drug has little to no effect on patients suffering from coronavirus.
Surprisingly, the medicine was authorized by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States on May 1 for emergency use. The drug was also taken by the United States President Donald Trump when he was admitted to hospital after being infected by the virus in early October. Moreover, the drug manufacturing company had also secured regulatory approval in several other countries for exporting the medicines.
In India, Gilead Sciences had signed non-exclusive deals with several pharmaceutical companies to increase the supply of this particular antiviral drug.