The antiviral drug remdesivir has shown effectiveness in quickly reducing or eliminating symptoms in COVID-19 patients in a University of Chicago Medicine study, according to STAT News.
"Most of our patients are severe and most of them are leaving at six days, so that tells us duration of therapy doesn't have to be 10 days," said Kathleen Mullane, the infectious disease specialist who is overseeing the study. "We have very few that went out to 10 days, maybe three."
About the study: Gilead Sciences recruited 125 people who had tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, to participate in clinical trials. Almost all of them, 113, were in severe condition. They were treated with daily infusions of remdesivir.
Mullane said most of the patients have been discharged, and two have died.
"Fever is now not a requirement for people to go on trial, we do see when patients do come in with high fevers, they do [reduce] quite quickly," Mullane said. "We have seen people come off ventilators a day after starting therapy. So, in that realm, overall our patients have done very well."
Mullane cautioned that the encouraging results can't yet be used to draw too many conclusions, as the clinical trials don't include a placebo group for comparison. Randomized controlled studies would be necessary to get sufficient data about the drug's effectiveness.
What's next? Remdesivir has the potential to become the first approved treatment for the coronavirus if it continues to produce safe and effective results. Regulatory agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration, are watching Gilead's clinical trials closely.
One patient in the study, 57-year-old Slawomir Michalak, called the drug a "miracle." He went to the hospital on April 3 because he was struggling to breathe and had a fever of 104. He said he began to feel better almost immediately after starting remdesivir treatments on April 4, and he was able to go home by April 7.
"Remdesivir was a miracle," he said.
(H/T: The Hill)