Editorial: WHO & why?

Remdesivir is not recommended for patients hospitalised with Covid-19, regardless of how ill they are, as there is no evidence it improves survival or reduces the need for ventilation, a World Health Organisation panel said.

“The … panel found a lack of evidence that remdesivir improved outcomes that matter to patients such as reduced mortality, need for mechanical ventilation, time to clinical improvement, and others”, the guideline said.

The advice is another setback for the drug, which grabbed worldwide attention as a potentially effective treatment for Covid-19 in the summer after early trials showed some promise. At the end of October, Gilead cut its 2020 revenue forecast, citing lower-than-expected demand and difficulty in predicting sales of remdesivir.

The antiviral is one of only two medicines currently authorised to treat Covid-19 patients across the world, but a large WHO-led trial known as the Solidarity Trial showed last month that it had little or no effect on 28-day mortality or length of hospital stays for Covid-19 patients. A vaccine to check coronavirus should be rolled out at the earliest.


NT Bureau