Story at a glance

  • The World Health Organization’s Solidarity Therapeutics Trial studied the effects of remdesivir and three other potential drug regimens in almost 11,300 adults with COVID-19 in 405 hospitals across 30 countries.
  • “Remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir and interferon regimens appeared to have little or no effect on 28-day mortality or the in-hospital course of COVID-19 among hospitalized patients,” the WHO said.
  • The Trump administration issued an emergency use authorization for remdesivir in May after the drug showed moderate effectiveness in improving outcomes for patients who were hospitalized with COVID-19.

The antiviral drug remdesivir has little or no effect on mortality for patients hospitalized with COVID-19, according to a study sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO). 

WHO’s Solidarity Therapeutics Trial studied the effects of remdesivir and three other potential drug regimens in nearly 11,300 adults with COVID-19 in 405 hospitals across 30 countries. The results from the study were released Thursday but have yet to be peer-reviewed. 


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“Remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir and interferon regimens appeared to have little or no effect on 28-day mortality or the in-hospital course of COVID-19 among hospitalized patients,” the WHO said in a statement

The study found none of the drugs, or combination of drugs, reduced patient mortality, reduced the need for a ventilator or shortened recovery time. 

The Trump administration issued an emergency use authorization for remdesivir in May after the drug showed moderate effectiveness in improving outcomes for patients who were hospitalized with COVID-19. 

Previous clinical trials found severely hospitalized patients with advanced COVID-19 who received the drug recovered in 11 days compared to 15 days for patients on a placebo. It’s the only antiviral drug authorized for treatment of COVID-19 in the U.S. 

President Trump was treated with remdesivir along with a series of other drugs earlier this month during his bout with COVID-19. 

Remdesivir is manufactured by U.S. drugmaker Gilead Sciences and was initially developed as a potential medicine to treat Ebola. 

Gilead Sciences pushed back against the findings of the WHO-sponsored study, saying the data “appear inconsistent with more robust evidence from multiple randomized, controlled studies published in peer-reviewed journals validating the clinical benefit of Veklury (remdesivir).”

“The benefits of Veklury [remdesivir] have been demonstrated in three randomized, controlled clinical trials, including a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial — the gold standard for evaluating the efficacy and safety of investigational drugs,” Gilead Sciences said in a statement.


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Published on Oct 16, 2020