Studies show mixed results for Gilead’s drug

April 29, 2020

One day, two conflicting studies about the efficacy of Gilead’s remdesivir on COVID-19 patients.

One of the studies, which was conducted in the U.S. and funded by The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), showed that of 1,063 hospitalized patients with COVID-19, patients taking remdesivir recovered in 11 days, compared to 15 days for a placebo group.

About 8 percent of patients taking remdesivir died on the treatment, compared to 11.6 percent of patients taking a placebo.

Meanwhile, results from a study conducted in China and published in The Lancet were less positive. The study included 237 patients — 158 took remdesivir and 79 were given a placebo.

According to the researchers, remdesivir “was not associated with a difference in time to clinical improvement.” However, remdesivir did provide a numerically — although not statistically significant — improvement in symptoms for patients who had been sick for 10 days or less. The authors said that more research should be conducted to determine if remdesivir is more effective when given early. 

Despite the mixed results, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of NIAID, suggested that remdesivir should become the “standard of care,” as drugmakers work to build on the studies with more data.

Gilead’s remdesivir, which was originally developed to treat Ebola, is one of the most closely watched potential treatments for COVID-19. Gilead said it expects to report data from a large study of the drug on COVID-19 patients by the end of May.

Read the Wall Street Journal report.