Dec. 23, 2021 – The antiviral remdesivir, an intravenous drug mainly given in hospitals to seriously ill COVID-19 patients, could keep unvaccinated people who become infected out of the hospital if given on an outpatient basis, a new one says Study.
Researchers studied 562 unvaccinated people from September 2020 to April 2021, according to the study published in US New England Journal of Medicine. The study found that subjects who received remdesivir were 87% lower at risk of hospitalization or death than subjects who received placebo.
All participants were at high risk of developing severe COVID-19 because of their age – they were over 60 – or because they had an underlying condition such as diabetes or obesity.
One important caveat: the results are based on data collected prior to the surge in the Delta variant last summer or the Omicron variant late this year. Die Washington Post reported.
The new study says the drug could be helpful in keeping vaccinated and unvaccinated people out of the hospital – a major factor as the rise in Omicron threatens to overwhelm health systems around the world.
Remdesivir could be a boon for COVID-19 patients in parts of the world who don’t have vaccines or for those with immunocompromised systems.
“These data show that three days of remdesivir treatment could play a critical role in helping COVID-19 patients stay in the hospital,” said Robert L. Gottlieb, MD, PhD, therapeutic director of COVID-19 Research at Baylor Scott & White Health in Dallas, said in a press release from Gilead Pharmaceuticals.
“Although our hospitals are ready to support patients in need, prevention and early intervention are preferred to reduce the risk of the disease getting worse and to allow non-oxygen patients to recover from home if necessary.”
Remdesivir was the first FDA-approved antiviral for COVID-19. It was given to then-President Donald Trump when he was hospitalized with COVID-19 in October 2020.
Gilead published the study results in September.