When the COVID-19 pandemic struck the world, the company behind Remdesivir, Gilead Sciences Inc., began to conduct trials and found that it was effective in treating the virus that causes the disease: SARS-COV-2.
Like Remdesivir is seen to do with other coronaviruses, when it comes to SARS-CoV-2, it is meant to work by stopping the virus from being able to replicate inside of the body. This is sometimes seen to shorten the recovery time in some COVID-19 patients.
Based on these clinical trials, the drug was authorized for emergency use in 50 countries, including India, Singapore, Japan, the European Union, the United States, and Australia, for people with severe symptoms*.
Nevertheless, it is only to be administered in hospital settings, and never in a home setting.
*However, this does not mean that it has full approval (at this time).
Is it used in India for Treatment?
The drug Remdesivir was approved for emergency use in treating COVID-19 patients in India in July 2020 by the National Clinical Management Protocol for Covid-19. But it is still listed as an investigational therapy.
It is currently used in India by doctors; however, it is currently only approved in the treatment of patients with mild COVID-19 infections who require oxygen support.
Is it authorized by ICMR or WHO?
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has authorized Remdesivir as an investigational drug that has been approved for emergency use to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients in selected clinical conditions.
But, they have cautioned that it is “not a life-saving drug in COVID-19" and does not reduce mortality.
On the other hand, the World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a conditional recommendation against the use of Remdesivir in all hospitalized patients.
This is because they say that there isn’t enough evidence that it improves the survival of these patients.
Is Remdesivir effective in COVID-19 treatment?
Initial studies suggested that hospitalized patients experienced a faster recovery time, reducing it by five days from 15 days to 10 on average.
It was also suggested that those treated with Remdesivir might not progress to more severe respiratory disease and were less likely to need high levels of respiratory support.
However, results from later trials and reviews found that the drug has no significant effect on patient mortality, recovery time and improvement, and need for ventilation.
At this time, more research and trials are needed to be certain of the effects of Remdesivir.