Coronavirus BREAKTHROUGH: US officals say drug has ‘significant’ impact on virus

The full details of the medical trial have yet to be released, but experts said it would be “a fantastic result” if confirmed, although cautioning that it was not a “magic bullet” for the disease. The trial, launched at the start of April, was organised by the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAD) and involved 1,063 people in 75 hospitals around the world. As part of the trial, some patients were given the anti-viral drug, while others received a placebo drug (dummy).

Initial results showed that those who received remdesivir recovered 31 percent faster than patients on the placebo.



The anti-viral drug cut the recovery time from a median of 15 days to 11, while also seemingly increasing a person’s chance of survival.



Scientists found that 8 percent of those on remdesivir died, as opposed to 11 percent of those on the placebo.



Dr Anthony Fauci who runs NIAD said: “The data shows remdesivir has a clear-cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery.”

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There is “clear-cut” evidence that the anti-viral drug remdesivir helps COVID-19 patients (Image: GETTY)

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Initial results showed that those who received remdesivir recovered 31 percent faster (Image: GETTY)

He added: “What it has proven is that a drug can block this virus.

“This will be the standard of care.”



Remdesivir, made by the US company Gilead, was originally developed as an Ebola treatment.



It works by attacking an enzyme that a virus needs in order to replicate inside human cells.



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Dr Anthony Fauci who runs NIAD said: “The data shows remdesivir has a clear-cut effect” (Image: GETTY)

Professor Mahesh Parmar, Director of the MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL, who has overseen the trial in the EU, said: “This is the first large scale international trial to report on the use of the drug remdisivir to treat patients hospitalised with Covid-19.



“These results are very promising indeed.



“They show that this drug can clearly improve time to recovery.



“Before this drug can be made more widely available, a number of things need to happen: the data and results need to be reviewed by the regulators to assess whether the drug can be licensed and then they need assessment by the relevant health authorities in various countries.

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Initial results showed that those who received remdesivir recovered 31 percent faster (Image: GETTY)

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The trial involved 1,063 people in 75 hospitals around the world. (Image: GETTY)

“While this is happening we will obtain more and longer term data from this trial, and other ones, on whether the drug also prevents deaths from Covid-19.”



If the results of the trial are confirmed and the drug stops people needing intensive care, then the pressure on hospitals will recede and enable the government to ease social distancing measures.



Experts agreed that the results were hopeful, but want to see more data from the trial.

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Coronavirus current cases (Image: EXPRESS)

Peter Horby, Professor of Emerging Infectious Diseases and Global Health, University of Oxford is running the RECOVERY trial of re-purposed drugs that could be useful in Covid-19.



He said: “We need to see the full results, but if confirmed this would be a fantastic result and great news for the fight against Covid-19.



“The next steps are to get the full data out and work on equitable access to remdesivir.”

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Gilead argued that the Chinese findings were inconclusive, because the study was terminated early. (Image: GETTY)

The NIAD study contradicts the results of a similar trial carried out by Chinese scientists, which appeared to show that remdesivir was ineffective in treating COVID-19.



However, the manufacturers of remdesivir, Gilead, argued that the Chinese findings were inconclusive, because the study was terminated early.



A statement from the US regulator the Food and Drug Administration said that the agency has been talking with California-based Gilead “regarding making remdesivir available to patients as quickly as possible, as appropriate”.

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