WHO Recommends Against Using Remdesivir for COVID-19 Patients

A panel of the World Health Organization (WHO) has advised against using remdesivir from American biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences as treatment for hospitalized COVID-19 patients, citing the drug to have “no important outcome for patients.”

A panel of the World Health Organization (WHO) has advised against using remdesivir from American biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences as treatment for hospitalized COVID-19 patients, citing the drug to have “no important outcome for patients.”

“The antiviral drug remdesivir is not suggested for patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19, regardless of how severely ill they are, because there is currently no evidence that it improves survival or the need for ventilation,” WHO Guideline Development Group (GDG) stated in a press release last Nov. 19.

According to GDG, the recommendation is based on new evidence comparing the effects of several drug treatments for COVID-19, including data from four international randomized controlled trials involving over 7,000 COVID-19 patients.

Gilead released a statement defending the remdesivir, claiming that the drug under the brand name Veklury is “recognized as a standard of care for the treatment of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 in guidelines from numerous credible national organizations.”

Gilead noted that health organizations, such as the United States National Institutes of Health, recommended the drug and that multiple studies show its clinical benefits, including faster recovery.

“We are disappointed the WHO guidelines appear to ignore this evidence at a time when cases are dramatically increasing around the world and doctors are relying on Veklury as the first and only approved antiviral treatment for patients with COVID-19 in approximately 50 countries,” Gilead stated.

GDG stated in their press release, however, that they support continued enrollment trials to evaluate remdesivir, “especially to provide higher certainty of evidence for specific groups of patients.”


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