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Early Results of Remdesivir Trial Are Promising, But More Research Needed

In This Article

  • The first double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of the drug remdesivir in treating COVID-19 has produced early positive results
  • The ACTT trial showed improved recovery time and mortality rates in patients with advanced COVID-19 symptoms compared to placebo groups
  • Further analysis is needed to uncover optimal treatment timing in patients across a wide spectrum of illness

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) reported on April 29, 2020, that a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial testing the antiviral drug remdesivir for treatment in COVID-19 has preliminarily produced positive results. These data, based on the results from 460 of the 1,063 participants enrolled in the study, indicate that patients with advanced COVID-19 symptoms recovered 31% faster under remdesivir treatment than with placebo. The median time to recovery was 11 days for patients in the treatment group, compared to 15 days for the control group. The mortality rate was also lower in the treatment group—8% compared to 11.6% under placebo.

Elizabeth Hohmann, MD, an infectious disease specialist and principal investigator of the Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial (ACTT) at Mass General, commented that she is cautiously optimistic that the results will look even better with more patient data analyzed.

The study included patients along a wide spectrum of illness—some were intubated in the ICU, while others hospitalized and receiving supplemental oxygen.

Dr. Hohmann hopes that a deeper analysis of these patient subgroups can provide a better understanding of the optimal timing of treatment. Dr. Hohmann wants to know for those people who are sick enough to be in the hospital but only being treated with supplemental oxygen, can their disease trajectory be changed?

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Learn more about COVID-19 clinical trials at Mass General


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