On October 8th, a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine confirming that Remdesivir or Veklury can be used for treatments of patients affected with COVID-19.
Note that Veklury does not cure COVID-19 but only helps with respiratory issues. It has received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the US FDA which means that this antiviral drug can be prescribed as IV for those infected with SARS-CoV 2.
This drug can now be administered for those who need supplemental oxygen or ventilators to breathe.
Remdesivir or Veklury works by stopping the virus from replicating itself in the body and in trials has successfully helped in early-stage symptoms and in people with advanced symptoms of COVID-19.
The researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases submitted the final report in which 1062 people were assigned, at random, Remdesivir, or placebo via IV for 10 days.
All participants had some form of respiratory infection which required them to be on supplemental oxygen or a ventilator. The study highlighted the effects of Remdesivir and how much longer or shorter the patients needed to be on a ventilator. On average, the patients on Remdesivir had been discharged 5 days earlier when compared to the patients on placebo.
Comparing the mortality rates in patients receiving Remdesivir and placebo 15 to 28 days later, the rates were at 11% and 15% respectively. While the study wasn’t big enough to statistically have more significant numbers, they do make a difference. Adding other metrics that were taken during the test, Remdesivir has shown a reduction in the time spent on supplemental oxygen and ventilation.
The drug has shown an effect in not only early symptoms but also in late stages, which has lead researchers to test whether it can help stop the progression of the virus. The only problem that can limit the use of the drug is that its IV based, but Gilead, the manufacturer of the drug, has been working on an inhaled version for the same.