WHO advises against remdesivir for coronavirus treatment

Paris: The anti-viral drug remdesivir should not be used to treat Covid-19 patients no matter how severe their illness as it has "no important effect" on survival chances, the World Health Organization said Friday.

Denting hopes in one of the few treatments that had shown some initial promise in severe patients, a WHO Guideline Development Group (GDG) of international experts said there was "no evidence based on currently available data that it does improve patient-important outcomes".

The United States, the European Union and other countries have granted temporary approval for the use of remdesivir after initial research showed it may shorten recovery time in some coronavirus patients.

President Donald Trump was treated with remdesivir among other medicines after he tested positive for Covid-19 in October.

Friday's WHO recommendation was based on four international randomised trials among more than 7,000 patients hospitalised with the virus.

Publishing updated treatment guidance in the BMJ medical journal, the panel acknowledged that their recommendation does not mean that remdesivir has no benefit for patients.

But based on the latest figures, costs and delivery methods, it advised "against administering remdesivir in addition to usual care for the treatment of patients hospitalised with Covid-19, regardless of disease severity". – AFP