(Reuters) – The US National Institutes of Health. USA (NIH) said Friday that data from their Gilead Sciences Inc. remdesivir trial shows the drug offers the greatest benefit for COVID-19 patients who need additional oxygen but do not require mechanical ventilation.
The peer-reviewed data was published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The trial, the final results of which are still coming in, showed that the recovery time for patients receiving remdesivir was reduced by four days, or 31%, compared to placebo patients. The greatest benefit was seen in patients who were sick enough to need supplemental oxygen but were not on a ventilator.
The detailed data in the journal is similar to the first results the NIH published last month of the study, which started in February with 1,063 participants in 10 countries.
The researchers now calculate that after follow-up, 7% of the patients who received remdesivir will have died, compared to 12% in the placebo group, but they said the difference in death rate was not significant.
"Our findings highlight the need to identify cases of COVID-19 and start antiviral treatment before lung disease progresses to require mechanical ventilation," the researchers wrote.
They noted that "given the high mortality despite the use of remdesivir," the antiviral drug is likely to be more effective in combination with other treatments for COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus.
Gilead said he expects results from his own study of remdesivir in patients with moderate COVID-19 later this month.
"We look forward to the initiation of combined studies of remdesivir to understand whether the addition of other medications can improve patient outcomes," Merdad Parsey, Gilead's medical director, said in a statement.
The Food and Drug Administration authorized the emergency use of remdesivir on May 1, and Gilead has been supplying the drug to hospitals as part of a pledge to donate 1.5 million vials, or enough for at least 140,000 patients. .
Reports from Manojna Maddipatla in Bangalore; Aditya Soni, Aurora Ellis and Sonya Hepinstall edition
. (tagsToTranslate) Coronavirus (t) 2019 New coronavirus (t) 2019-nCoV (t) Wuhan coronavirus (t) Human coronavirus HKU1 (t) Human coronavirus OC43 (t) HCoV-OC43 (t) Human coronavirus 229E (t) HCoV – 229E