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WHO study says remdesivir has 'little or no effect' on COVID-19

Gilead Sciences, which produces remdesivir under the brand name Veklury, responded that the new study appears "inconsistent" with past findings. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/3fb64ddf523eb0e88981e1d8164704d3/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Gilead Sciences, which produces remdesivir under the brand name Veklury, responded that the new study appears "inconsistent" with past findings. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 16 (UPI) -- The World Health Organization said it has found that the drug remdesivir and three other medications have little or no effect on patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

Remdesivir had received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration as a potential coronavirus treatment. President Donald Trump also took the drug as part of a treatment regimen after he tested positive for COVID-19 this month.

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The WHO study, which has not yet published in a peer-review journal, also examined hydroxychloroquine, interferon and the HIV combination of lopinavir and ritonavir.

"These remdesivir, Hydroxychloroquine, Lopinavir and Interferon regimens appeared to have little or no effect on hospitalized COVID-19, as indicated by overall mortality, initiation of ventilation and duration of hospital stay," the WHO study states.

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"The mortality findings contain most of the randomized evidence on remdesivir and Interferon, and are consistent with meta-analyses of mortality in all major trials."

The WHO said its study involved more than 11,200 patients at 405 hospitals in 30 countries.

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The organization called the results of the study "disappointing and unpromising." An earlier controlled study did show that remdesivir had shortened recovery time for hospitalized patients in the United States but did not help those with milder cases.

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Gilead Sciences, which produces remdesivir under the brand name Veklury, said the WHO study appeared "inconsistent" with past findings.

"The emerging data appear inconsistent with more robust evidence from multiple randomized, controlled studies published in peer-reviewed journals validating the clinical benefit of Veklury," Gilead said in a statement.

"We are concerned that the data from this open-label global trial have not undergone the rigorous review required to allow for constructive scientific discussion."

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