Remdesivir Photograph:( AFP )
The latest development is another setback for the drug that had grabbed headlines in the initial months of the pandemic as the potential treatment to coronavirus
The World Health Organization has advised against the use of Gilead's remdesivir for patients hospitalised with Covid-19, saying there is a shortage of evidence that it improves the condition or reduces mortality.
"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 WHO guideline said, as quoted by news agency Reuters.
The latest development is another setback for the drug that had grabbed headlines in the initial months of the pandemic as the potential treatment to coronavirus.
It is one of the two medicines currently authorised to treat the deadly virus across the world, but a large-scale Solidarity Trial led by WHO found that it had little or no effect on 28-day mortality or duration of hospitalisation of Covid-19 patients.
However, the antiviral drug was also used to treat Donald Trump when he had contracted the virus, and previous studies had suggested that it reduces the time to recovery.
As many as 50 countries have authorised the use of remdesivir to treat coronavirus.
The WHO's Guideline Development Group (GDG) panel said its recommendation was backed by an evidence review that consisted of data from four international randomised trials of over 7,000 Covid-19 hospitalised patients.
It also said that evidence review found that the drug is costly and complex to administer and has very little efficacy.
"Especially given the costs and resource implications associated with remdesivir ...the panel felt the responsibility should be on demonstrating evidence of efficacy, which is not established by the currently available data," the panel said.