For COVID-19 Treatment Remdesivir Is Unnecessary, Says WHO

COVID-19 Remdesivir

COVID-19 causes drastic changes across the world by affecting the lives of everyone one way or another. Thus, multiple biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies are working with scientists and researchers to develop a cure or final treatment strategy for coronavirus infection. Some doctors and healthcare workers have suggested the use of remdesivir for the treatment of coronavirus infection. 

In the early days of pandemics, multiple theories regarding the coronavirus spread across communities, countries, and all around the world. As soon as the discoveries about the novel coronavirus came, the World Health Organization analyzed them. The WHO also revised its guidelines, according to the latest research. 

ALSO READ: For COVID-19 Treatment FDA approves Remdesivir

However, only pharmaceutical products that the FDA, CDC, and WHO approve will be available at the international level. Yet, some localities and countries do use other treatment strategies with the approval of their national drug regulatory authorities. 

FDA Approval For Using Remdesivir For COVID-19 

Remdesivir is an antiviral drug that has been used in the treatment of viral diseases. Coronaviruses are also a type of infection causing the SARS-COV2 infection of the respiratory tract. SARS-COV2 is Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome caused by coronavirus. 

The FDA has given emergency use authorization to use Remdesivir in combination with baricitinib to treat coronavirus  suspected or confirmed patients. This combination of drugs can be given to hospitalized coronavirus patients, either adults or pediatric patients two years of age or older requiring ECMO.

The FDA approved it, as the use of Remdesivir with barcitinib reduces recovery time. However, the FDA does not allow the use of these drugs individually alone for the treatment of coronavirus infection. 

Besides, Thursday’s publication of the medical journal, the BMJ, suggests that a combination of these two drugs does not affect the risk of dying from COVID-19 infection. Nor does Remdesivir affect the need for mechanical ventilation and other important outcomes. 

WHO Objects To Approve Remdesivir For Coronavirus Treatment

The new update to WHO guidelines comes one month after the maker of Remdesivir announced that the US FDA had approved Remdesivir for the treatment of coronavirus infection. Dr. Amesh Adalja is a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.  However, he was not a member of the panel which finalized the WHO guidance. 

According to Dr. Amesh Adalja, the WHO does not recommend Remdesivir for the treatment of coronavirus infection. The reason behind the decision is that emerging research suggests that Remdesivir does not play any part in controlling or treating coronavirus infection. 

Dr. Adalja suggests that Remdesivir combination with barcitinib is effective in only a few patients, and evidence of the positive impact of combination-drugs is weak. Apart from that, there are many drugs that the WHO does not recommend. In some parts of the world those drugs are still in use. Moreover, some people will continue to use Remdesivir for treating coronavirus infection, considering the existence or possibility of benefit. However, WHO guidelines do not recommend its use because the drug can cause harm. 

How The WHO Decide Not To Recommend Remdesivir 

The WHO designed a panel that consisted of 24 experts from across the world and four survivors. The WHO convened them to review data and make recommendations according to their analysis of data. Further,  7333  coronavirus confirmed patients, data was  obtained through four randomized trials.

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After analyzing the data, the panel concluded that the majority of the patients did not prefer intravenous remdesivir treatment. The reason is that this treatment methodology had low-certainty evidence. Still, Gilead Sciences, the maker of Remdesivir, justifies drug usage for the treatment of coronavirus infection, depending upon multiple-randomized-controlled-studies that are present in peer-reviewed journals. 

Peter Horby agrees with the WHO decision and . He said that the use of Remdesivir is costly as it is an expensive drug. In addition, the doctors have to administer the drug intravenously  for 5 to 10 days. Furthermore, he adds that there is no evidence of the benefit of Remdesivir in treating coronavirus. Thus, WHO’s disapproval of Remdesivir usage is understandable, and other guidelines that recommend the drug for COVID-19 treatment shall reconsider their recommendation.

About the author

Adeena Tariq Lari

The author is a graduate of dental surgery from the Dow University Health Sciences, Karachi. She has an academic background in content writing as well as English literature, giving her an edge in the field. Adeena is always curious about physical and mental health. She is always passionate about research and delivering high-quality reliable content to users.

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