(CNN) — The World Health Organization has updated its continuing guidance on covid-19 medications and recommended against using the antiviral drug remdesivir to treat hospitalized patients, no matter how severe their illness may be.
According to the update, published in the medical journal BMJ this Thursday, current evidence does not suggest that remdesivir affects the risk of dying from COVID-19 or needing mechanical ventilation, among other important results.
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The new WHO update comes about a month after remdesivir maker Gilead Sciences announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved remdesivir for the treatment of COVID-19 infection.
The drug became the first treatment for the coronavirus to receive FDA approval. On Thursday, the FDA granted emergency use authorization to a combination of remdesivir and the rheumatoid arthritis drug baricitinib to treat suspected or confirmed cases of Covid-19.
Remdesivir may have received FDA approval, but not WHO recommendation because of emerging research, said Dr. Amesh Adalja, a principal investigator at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Safety, who was not involved in the guidance. The OMS. The studies initially showed some benefit against covid-19, but as more data accumulates, that seems to be changing.
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“We’ve seen people realize that the benefit of remdesivir is marginal at best, and the only benefit that we had been promoting was that it might make people better faster. But the evidence base for that is weak, it is not iron, and I think that is what we are seeing reflected in the WHO guidance, just more evaluation of the data that is available now, “Adalja told CNN on Thursday.
“The fact that it was an antiviral that showed some benefit in certain trials, but not all trials, was enough to push people to want to use it because we had no tools, but I think it will probably be replaced soon,” Adalja said , adding that the prescription of medications can change over time.
“We have a lot of FDA approved drugs for many conditions, but are they always in the guidelines and are they always recommended? No, not necessarily. Not all. So we are often refining treatments, ”said Adalja. «Is remdesivir going to be a reference drug? Probably not so much anymore.
The WHO convened an international panel of 24 experts and four survivors of Covid-19 to review the data and make recommendations. The recommendation against remdesivir was based on data from four randomized trials that included 7,333 people hospitalized with COVID-19.