COVID-19: First results published on coronavirus drug treatment

More than 60% of a group of severely ill COVID-19 patients showed improvement when treated with remdesivir, an antiviral medication being studied during 2020 as a possible post-infection treatment for COVID-19 illness

Nonetheless, 36 of the 53 patients treated with the drug or 68% of the group showed improvement.

The patients in the US, Italy, France, Austria, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Japan, and Canada received the drug intravenously for at least ten days.

17 of 30 patients treated with the drug while requiring mechanical ventilation improved. Eight patients saw a worsening of disease. A total of seven patients, or 13%, died.

There have been 1.7 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 100,000 people have died but there is currently no existing treatment for the virus that caused a global pandemic.

"Although data from several ongoing randomised, controlled trials will soon provide more informative evidence regarding the safety and efficacy of remdesivir for Covid-19, the outcomes observed in this compassionate-use program are the best currently available data," the doctors wrote in the study published on Friday.

Remdesivir is also one of several antivirals being tested in the European clinical "Discovery" study which is looking at experimental treatments deemed priorities by the World Heath Organisation (WHO).
That trial is also looking at the drug hydrochloroquine which caused a certain frenzy over its supposed benefits in treating COVID-19 despite few reliable studies of the drug's effects.
More comprehensive results from studies of these drugs are expected next month.