Gilead Sciences announced on Wednesday of this week that the preliminary results of a coronavirus drug trial showed that at least 50% of the patients who were treated showed exponential improvements to their health, and more than 50% were able to be discharged from the hospital within two weeks.
The patients who showed improvement were given a five-day dosage of a drug known as remdesivir. 397 individuals who have been suffering from severe cases of Covid-19 were involved in the trial. This trial study was known as a “single-arm” study as well, meaning that the scientists involved did not test an antiviral drug against a control group of patients, like they’re doing at Oxford University currently with the same vaccine goal.
The study did, however, split the patients into two groups of individuals with Covid-19. One group received a five-day treatment of remdesivir, while the other group received a 10-day treatment. The results showed more than half of the patients in each group were discharged from the hospital in less than two weeks.
“64.5% of the patients who received the shorter treatment were discharged, compared with 53.8% of the group who were treated for 10 days. This data is encouraging as it indicates that patients who received a shorter, five-day course of remdesivir experienced similar clinical improvement as patients who received a 10-day treatment course,” said Aruna Subramanian, a lead investigator of the study.
The fact that they received almost identical results for both treatment periods is astounding news, as this means if remdesivir does lead to a successful drug treatment against Covid-19, the world will be able to use less of the drug per patient, leading to a hopeful influx in supply.
As of right now, there are no proven treatments for the coronavirus, which has now infected more than 3 million individuals worldwide and killed over 200,000 as of this week. Some US officials claim we won’t see a FDA approved Covid-19 vaccine for another year at least, while others are hopeful that we can see one as soon as the fall of 2020. Drug treatments, however, have taken more of a priority for many to ensure that when individuals do get infected in the future, there’s a basic line of treatment that everyone can follow; like how you take different medicine and vitamins when you have a sore throat versus the common cold.
Remdesivir has been at the center of many Covid-19 treatment trials. The drug has proven it could treat SARS and MERS which are related to/caused by the coronavirus. The most promising result that’s been seen so far is that remdesivir has reduced the overall duration of Covid-19 in patients.
“Remdesivir is a part of a better toolbox for dealing with the coronavirus, but it’s not a home run or a cure by any means. It’s not going to be a cure, but it is going to be a drug potentially that if you use it particularly early in the course of the disease, it could reduce their chances of having a really bad outcome,” said Dr. Scott Gottlieb.
As previously mentioned, a proper course of treatment is the biggest goal so that those who are currently suffering from the coronavirus will have the best chance at recovering quickly. For now, we’ll just have to wait and see what treatments/vaccines emerge from our world’s most brilliant minds.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.