Coronavirus Cure: Patients Receiving Remdesivir Experimental Drug Recovering Quickly

Covid-19 patients who are getting an experimental drug called remdesivir have been recovering quickly, STAT News reported Thursday after it obtained a video of a conversation about the trial. 

The phase 3 trials, conducted by the University of Chicago Medicine, found that most patients treated with the drug had “rapid recoveries in fever and respiratory symptoms,” according to the original report from STAT News. It also showed that The patients taking part in a clinical trial of the drug were able to leave the hospital after less than a week of treatment. These patients have all had severe respiratory symptoms and fever.

"The best news is that most of our patients have already been discharged, which is great. We've only had two patients perish," Dr. Kathleen Mullane, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Chicago who is leading the clinical trial, said in the video.

The University of Chicago said Mullane's comments constituted partial information.

"Partial data from an ongoing clinical trial is by definition incomplete and should never be used to draw conclusions about the safety or efficacy of a potential treatment that is under investigation," it said in a statement. "In this case, information from an internal forum for research colleagues concerning work in progress was released without authorization. Drawing any conclusions at this point is premature and scientifically unsound."

The National Institutes of Health is organizing trials of several drugs and other treatments, among them remdesivir -- a drug, made by Gilead Sciences, which was tested against Ebola with little success. Multiple studies in animals showed the drug could both prevent and treat coronaviruses related to COVID-19, including SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome).

In February, the World Health Organization said remdesivir showed potential against COVID-19. Along with malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, it was one of two drugs that President Donald Trump called “very exciting.”

COVID-19 Coronavirus Drug - Remdesivir Remdesivir is the first therapy approved for the treatment of COVID-19. ULRICH PERREY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

"Most of our patients are severe and most of them are leaving at six days, so that tells us duration of therapy doesn't have to be 10 days," Mullane was quoted as saying.

Trials of the drug are ongoing at dozens of other clinical centers, as well. Gilead, which is sponsoring tests of the drug in 2,400 patients with severe Covid-19 symptoms in 152 trial sites around the world, said it expected results from the trial by the end of the month.

"We understand the urgent need for a COVID-19 treatment and the resulting interest in data on our investigational antiviral drug remdesivir," the company said in a statement to CNN.  "The totality of the data need to be analyzed in order to draw any conclusions from the trial. Anecdotal reports, while encouraging, do not provide the statistical power necessary to determine the safety and efficacy profile of remdesivir as a treatment for Covid-19."

Adam Crisafulli, founder of Vital Knowledge, said: “Having an effective therapy to combat the coronavirus is certainly positive,” however, "remdesivir isn’t preventative and won’t influence transmission, which means the drug isn’t going to necessarily impact the speed at which economic activity will resume in May and beyond."

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