Anti-viral drug being hailed as coronavirus cure, fails first clinical trial

WION Web Team New Delhi, India Apr 24, 2020, 10.46 AM(IST)

Anti-viral drug remdesivir Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

According to draft documents accidentally published by the World Health Organization, a Chinese trial showed that the drug did not improve patients' condition or reduce the pathogen's presence in the bloodstream.

Anti-viral drug remdesivir which was being hailed as the cure for the novel coronavirus, has failed its first clinical test.

According to draft documents accidentally published by the World Health Organization, a Chinese trial showed that the drug did not improve patients' condition or reduce the pathogen's presence in the bloodstream.

Also read: Most patients hospitalised with COVID-19 had chronic health issues, says study

It showed that researchers studied 237 patients, administering the drug to 158 and comparing their progress with the remaining 79, who received a placebo.

Also read: Harvard professor becomes a billionaire from stake in company discovering Covid-19 vaccine

After a month, 13.9 per cent of the patients taking the drug had died compared to 12.8 per cent of those receiving the placebo.

The trial was stopped early because of side-effects.

Also read: COVID-19 vaccine trial on humans starts in UK

The summary of the documents which were later on removed stated, "remdesivir was not associated with clinical or virological benefits." 

However, Gilead Sciences, the US firm which produces the drug, said the document had mischaracterised the study.

A spokesman for Gilead said, "the trial was terminated early due to low enrolment and was therefore not statistically meaningful.''

"As such, the study results are inconclusive, though trends in the data suggest a potential benefit for remdesivir, particularly among patients treated early in disease," he added.