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WHO trial finds ‘Remdesivir’ has little effect on COVID-19

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday dashed hopes that the Ebola drug ‘Remdesivir’ and three other existing medications could be useful tools against COVID-19.

Trials with four drugs conducted among 11,000 patients in 30 countries “appeared to have little or no effect’’ on survival and on the progression of the disease among hospitalised patients, the WHO said in Geneva.

The UN Health agency’s Solidarity Trial involved Remdesivir, the HIV treatment lopinavir/ritonavir, the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and Interferon, which was developed for multiple sclerosis.

The European Union had placed its bets on Remdesivir. The European Commission announced a contract this month to secure additional supplies of the antiviral drug for up to 500,000 patients.

Despite questions about its effectiveness, Remdesivir was the first drug to receive EU approval to treat severe cases of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

U.S President Donald Trump has received Remdesivir as well as the anti-inflammatory medication dexamethasone and other drugs following his recent novel coronavirus infection, according to his doctors.

Although ‘Dexamethasone’ was not included in the WHO trials, it was shown to reduce mortality among hospitalized COVID-19 patients in a British study.

Halima Sheji

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