Remdesivir a No-Go, Says WHO

The antiviral remdesivir should not be used as a treatment for hospitalized COVID-19 patients, the WHO now says, citing a lack of evidence that it improves survival or reduces the need for ventilators, STAT reports.

The revised guidance, published last night in the BMJ, follows the drug’s disappointing WHO SOLIDARITY trial performance.

Remdesivir was FDA-approved after an NIH gold-standard clinical trial found that it speeded recovery for hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

But the drug’s steep price and “lack of ‘meaningful effect’ on mortality” make it a poor choice, the WHO panel concluded, according to the AP.

Clashing recommendations—not just with remdesivir, but with Eli Lilly’s experimental antibody drug and others—put doctors in a tough spot.

And: Yesterday’s early results on the anti-inflammatory drug tocilizumab look promising—but doctors can’t review the details, which have not yet published or peer-reviewed.

The Quote: “It’s really hard to practice medicine by press release,” said Rochelle Walensky, infectious disease chief at Massachusetts General Hospital.

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