WHO warns patients with Covid-19 against remdesivir: “A possibility of significant side effects”

“The antiviral drug remdesivir is not recommended for patients admitted to hospital with Covid-19, regardless of the severity of their disease, as there is currently no evidence that it improves the survival or that it avoids being placed on artificial ventilation, “according to a statement from the WHO (World Health Organization).

It decided after the opinion of its panel of experts, whose conclusions are published in the medical journal BMJ. These experts stress “the possibility of significant side effects” of this drug, as well as “its relatively high cost and logistical implications,” since it must be administered intravenously. ”Initially developed against Ebola hemorrhagic fever, remdesivir is sold by Gilead Laboratory under the trade name of Veklury.

On July 3, it became the first drug against Covid to receive conditional European marketing authorization. However, it arouses more enthusiasm in North America than on the Old Continent. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said on October 2 that it would investigate reports that “acute kidney problems” could be linked to taking remdesivir. WHO experts based their conclusions on the analysis of four international clinical trials comparing the effectiveness of different treatments and involving more than 7,000 patients hospitalized for Covid-19.

WHO experts point out that it cannot be said at this stage that remdesivir has no benefit. But the fact that its effectiveness has not been proven combined with its drawbacks (possible side effects and cost) leads them not to recommend it. At the end of October, Gilead announced that remdesivir had already earned him nearly $ 900 million in the third quarter.

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