Gilead's remdesivir shaved five days off COVID-19 recovery time, reduced risk of death in some
By Julie Steenhuysen
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Final data from Gilead Sciences Inc's antiviral drug Remdesivir showed that the treatment reduced COVID-19 recovery time by five days, compared to patients who received placebo, one day faster than indicated in preliminary data, announced the company and the researchers on Thursday.
In patients who received oxygen the first time they took the medicine, Remdesivir - marketed under the Veklury brand - reduced the recovery time by seven days compared to placebo at 29 days. This was found in a study of 1,062 patients published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The final study looked at data after 29 days of treatment compared to a pre-study published in May that reported results after 15 days.
Gilead's drug was among the first to be used to treat the novel coronavirus and was one of the drugs recently used to treat US President Donald Trump.
Remdesivir received emergency approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on May 1 and has since been approved for use in several other countries.
The results of the overall study suggested that the drug could reduce mortality, but the benefit was not statistically significant. In a separate analysis that looked only at patients receiving oxygen, the drug appeared to reduce the risk of death by 72 percent on day 15 and by 70 percent on day 29.
With this analysis, "we now have data suggesting that administering remdesivir to oxygen patients can significantly reduce their likelihood of death compared to other subgroups," said Dr. Andre Kalil, an infectious disease expert at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and chief investigator of the study, said in a press release.
(Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen; Editing by Chris Reese and Sonya Hepinstall)
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