Remdesivir has little effect on COVID-19 patients' survival, WHO study finds

Dr. Peter Figueroa, Professor of Public Health at UWI Mona
A World Health Organization (WHO) study has found that anti-viral drug Remdesivir has little to no effect on COVID-19 patients' chances of survival.
The WHO trial evaluated four potential medications for COVID-19, including Remdesivir.
The drug's manufacturer, Gilead, has rejected the findings of the trial.
Gilead said the findings of the study were inconsistent with others and it was concerned that the results have yet to be reviewed.
On Wednesday, Jamaica's Ministry of Health said it would be moving to procure supplies of Remdesivir.
The decision followed an appeal from the Pharmaceutical Society of Jamaica for hospitals to have a regular supply of the drug.
'Don't invest' 
In the meantime, Dr. Peter Figueroa, Professor of Public Health at the University of the West Indies, Mona, is recommending that the Ministry of Health not invest in Remdesivir, once the review of the WHO results is published. 
"It's expensive, of course, will the cost over US$2,300 for a five day course, and the evidence is not there if this evidence has just come out. So when the minister announced the initiative, it's with all good intentions, but now we have the most definitive trial suggesting that this will not make a difference," he contended.  
Professor Figueroa said the WHO clinical trial results can be viewed in two ways. 
"It's both bad and good news. Good news in the sense that we have to continue or we know now that these four drugs that we were hoping would help patients in hospital, the evidence suggests that they do not. But, we are always searching for ways, we're learning how to improve things. There are lots of studies underway so it's just a matter of time. The vaccine trials are underway. The first vaccines that are going to come out may not prove to be the most effective vaccines, but they will help and then better vaccines will be developed. We just have to be patient," he suggested Friday on the Morning Agenda on Power 106.

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