A paper published by the New England Journal of Medicine, patients hospitalized for severe Covid-19 who were treated with compassionate-use remdesivir, clinical improvement was observed in 36 of 53 patients (68%).
The experimental treatment is bringing some COVID-19 patients from the brink.
“Since the first cases were reported in December 2019, infection with the severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has become a worldwide pandemic. Covid-19 — the illness caused by SARS-CoV-2 — is overwhelming health care systems globally,” the study found. “The symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 infection vary widely, from asymptomatic disease to pneumonia and life-threatening complications, including acute respiratory distress syndrome, multisystem organ failure, and ultimately, death.”
“Older patients and those with preexisting respiratory or cardiovascular conditions appear to be at the greatest risk for severe complications,” the report suggests. “In the absence of a proven effective therapy, current management consists of supportive care, including invasive and noninvasive oxygen support and treatment with antibiotics. In addition, many patients have received off-label or compassionate-use therapies, including antiretrovirals, antiparasitic agents, antiinflammatory compounds, and convalescent plasma.”
In approved cases, the planned treatment was a 10-day course of remdesivir, consisting of a loading dose of 200 mg intravenously on day 1, plus 100 mg daily for the following 9 days. Supportive therapy was to be provided at the discretion of the clinicians. Follow-up was to continue through at least 28 days after the beginning of treatment with remdesivir or until discharge or death. Data that were collected through March 30, 2020, are reported here. This open-label program did not have a predetermined number of patients, number of sites, or duration. Data for some patients included in this analysis have been reported previously.
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon