The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday advised against the use in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 of the antiviral remdesivir, one of the main treatments against the disease with which it has been experimented this year, as there was no evidence that it causes improvements in the sick.
An international panel of WHO experts concluded that there is no evidence that the drug, produced by the US pharmaceutical company Gilead and previously used in Ebola patients, reduces mortality in the most severe cases of COVID-19 or reduces the need ventilation.
The results, published in the British Medical Journal of the British Medical Association, have been obtained after analyzing data from four trials with 7,000 hospitalized patients with COVID-19.
The drug “does not have significant effects on mortality or other important indicators in patients, such as the need for mechanical ventilation or the time to clinical improvement,” the experts stressed.
They clarified that the results do not indicate that remdesivir lacks certain beneficial effects for patients, but they advise against its use due to the high cost and possible harm to health of a drug that must be administered intravenously.
They also clarified that they support that clinical trials with this drug, some of them supported at the time by the WHO, continue in specific groups of patients to continue gathering evidence on its effects.
The WHO has been recommending the use of dexamethasone, a very affordable corticosteroid on the international market, for the treatment of severe cases of COVID-19 for months, since it has been the one that has offered the best results to date.