Home / Companies / News /  Remdesivir gets lukewarm endorsement from experts in Covid fight

Gilead Sciences Inc.’s remdesivir is worth prescribing for patients with severe Covid-19 though evidence of its benefits remains inconclusive, according to a panel of international experts convened by the British Medical Journal.

The effectiveness of most interventions with remdesivir is uncertain because most of the trials so far have been small and have limitations, the authors said in a review for the journal.

The antiviral medication has received worldwide attention as a potential treatment for severe Covid-19 and is already being used in clinical practice. The European Commission signed a 63 million-euro ($74 million) contract with Gilead this week for batches of the drug to be made available in European Union countries from early August.

Remdesivir may be effective in reducing recovery time in patients with severe Covid-19, though more trials are needed to confirm this, the experts said. The drug probably has no important effect on the need for mechanical ventilation and may have little or no effect on the length of hospital stay.

Gilead said in June that it will charge U.S. hospitals roughly $3,120 for a course of treatment of remdesivir for most patients. The drug received an emergency use authorization from U.S. regulators in May, after a big trial found it sped recovery by about four days in hospitalized patients.

The authors said use of a costly drug like remdesivir may divert funds, time, attention and workforce away from other potentially worthwhile treatments. They suggested future research should focus on areas such as optimal dose of the drug, duration of therapy, and whether there are specific groups of patients most likely to benefit.

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