Remdesivir – A potential coronavirus treatment?

Dr Elena Schneider-Futschik has been featured in The Guardian to comment on the therapeutic potential of the drug for COVID-19.

With COVID-19 bringing the world to a standstill, the race is on to find effective treatments and therapies for increasing recovery times and survival rates of the disease.

One promising drug that is currently under investigation in the World Heath Organization’s (WHO) Solidarity Trial is remdesivir, an antiviral initially developed in the US as an Ebola treatment. However, early trials of the drug in the US and China have provided mixed results regarding its efficacy in treating COVID-19.

Vials of drugs for infusion treatment

Dr Elena Schneider-Futschik, of the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, was contacted by The Guardian about what to make of these results.

“There can be a lot of variables in the set-up of the study, and different stages of initiation of treatment,” she said.

“It may highly depend on when and at what stage of the infection patients receive the drug.

“We can say it is currently not clear who is benefitting from remdesivir. Is it helping patients who would have recovered anyway, recover quicker? Is remdesivir more beneficial for younger compared [with] older patients? At what stage of the infection does treatment yield the best outcomes?”

Dr Schenider-Futschik said that the WHO study will hopefully shed some light on these questions.

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