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Remdesivir cuts COVID-19 death risk by 62%, drugmaker says

By Don Jacobson
Remdesivir cuts COVID-19 death risk by 62%, drugmaker says
One Gilead study showed Friday that a large share of pediatric and female patients had recovered after 28 days of remdesivir treatment. File photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

July 10 (UPI) -- The antiviral drug remdesivir has demonstrated that it can lower the risk of death in COVID-19 patients, U.S. drugmaker Gilead Sciences reported in new data Friday.

Calling the finding "important," Gilead released the data in a virtual event that's part of the 23rd International AIDS Conference.

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According to the data, remdesivir minimizes the risk of death by 62 percent in patients with the coronavirus, compared with standard care alone.

Gilead said the results came from a comparative analysis among 312 patients in its Phase 3 "SIMPLE-Severe" remdesivir clinical trial. Patients receiving the drug were compared to a "real-world" cohort of 818 COVID-19 patients with similar characteristics and disease severity who received only standard care.

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A separate analysis looking at the effect of remdesivir across racial and ethnic groups found that traditionally marginalized groups recorded "similar clinical outcomes" as the overall patient population in the study.

A third analysis showed that 83 percent of pediatric patients and 92 percent of pregnant and postpartum women with varying COVID-19 severity had recovered after 28 days of remdesivir treatment.

"These data ... shed additional light on the use of remdesivir in specific patient populations, including those that may be susceptible to higher rates of COVID-19 infection, as well as others that are particularly vulnerable," Gilead Chief Medical Officer Merdad Parsey said in a statement.

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The drug, an antiviral developed to treat viruses like Ebola, was shown in April to be at least somewhat effective against COVID-19 in a study by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The following month, the Food and Drug Administration granted the drug emergency use authorization to fight COVID-19.

Gilead says it has an agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services to control allocations of remdesivir to hospitals nationwide through September.

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Visitors wear face masks as they tour the Whitney Museum of American Art as it reopens on September 3. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

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