Experimental Coronavirus Drug Shows Early Promising Results

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A trial for an experimental drug that could potentially serve as treatment for coronavirus has shown encouraging results.

On Saturday, Cedars-Sinai Hospital announced that 68% of COVID-19 patients hospitalized with severe complications exhibited an improvement after being administered the experimental antiviral drug remdesivir, reported NBC Los Angeles.

While remdesiver has not been approved by the FDA, the therapy was given under the “compassionate use” program which allows for experimental drugs to be given to patients with life-threatening conditions when no other treatment exists.

The small trial consisted of 53 patients across the United States, Canada, Europe and Japan.

The study’s early results showed:

  • 68% of patients treated with remdesivir demonstrated an improvement in the level of oxygen support they needed over a median follow-up of 18 days from the first dose of the drug;
  • of the 34 patients who had been intubated and required support from mechanical ventilators (breathing machines), 57% had their breathing tubes taken out;
  • 47% of all patients were discharged from the hospital following treatment with remdesivir.

While promising, the researchers stressed the drug’s efficacy is still in the early stages.

"Currently there is no proven treatment for COVID-19. We cannot draw definitive conclusions from these data, but the observations from this group of hospitalized patients who received remdesivir are hopeful," said Dr. Jonathan Grein, director of epidemiology at Cedars. "We look forward to the results of controlled clinical trials to potentially validate these findings."

The clinical trial is being sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health.