How drug originally developed to fight ebola affected severe coronavirus (COVID-19) patients

Remdesivir given to 53 COVID-19 patients

DETROIT – Doctors treated a group of patients hospitalized with severe cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) with a drug that was originally developed in the fight against ebola.

The small study consisted of 53 patients hospitalized for severe cases of COVID-19 who were treated with Remdesivir.

There was no control group of patients, meaning everyone received the drug.

Remdesivir is designed to slow the infection of healthy cells by helping to block the virus’ ability to reproduce itself. Of the 53 patients, 30 were on ventilators at the beginning of the study.

Each patient received 10 days of treatment with Remdesivir and were followed for a median of 18 days. At the end of the study, 68% of the patients showed improvement, 47% were successfully discharged and 13% died.

Since this was not a randomized, controlled trial -- in which some of the patients would have received a placebo instead of the actual drug -- it’s not possible to say if the improvement was due to the drug. But it didn’t appear to cause any harm.

Preliminary results are expected at the end of the month from a randomized clinical trial that was conducted in China in moderate and severe COVID-19 patients. That might be more helpful in determining how effective Remdesivir is in this fight.

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