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Wang Y, Zhang D, Du G, et al. Remdesivir in adults with severe COVID-19: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicentre trial. Lancet. 2020 May 16;395(10236):1569-1578. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31022-9. Epub 2020 Apr 29. (Original study)
Abstract

BACKGROUND: No specific antiviral drug has been proven effective for treatment of patients with severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Remdesivir (GS-5734), a nucleoside analogue prodrug, has inhibitory effects on pathogenic animal and human coronaviruses, including severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in vitro, and inhibits Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, SARS-CoV-1, and SARS-CoV-2 replication in animal models.

METHODS: We did a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicentre trial at ten hospitals in Hubei, China. Eligible patients were adults (aged =18 years) admitted to hospital with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, with an interval from symptom onset to enrolment of 12 days or less, oxygen saturation of 94% or less on room air or a ratio of arterial oxygen partial pressure to fractional inspired oxygen of 300 mm Hg or less, and radiologically confirmed pneumonia. Patients were randomly assigned in a 2:1 ratio to intravenous remdesivir (200 mg on day 1 followed by 100 mg on days 2-10 in single daily infusions) or the same volume of placebo infusions for 10 days. Patients were permitted concomitant use of lopinavir-ritonavir, interferons, and corticosteroids. The primary endpoint was time to clinical improvement up to day 28, defined as the time (in days) from randomisation to the point of a decline of two levels on a six-point ordinal scale of clinical status (from 1=discharged to 6=death) or discharged alive from hospital, whichever came first. Primary analysis was done in the intention-to-treat (ITT) population and safety analysis was done in all patients who started their assigned treatment. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT04257656.

FINDINGS: Between Feb 6, 2020, and March 12, 2020, 237 patients were enrolled and randomly assigned to a treatment group (158 to remdesivir and 79 to placebo); one patient in the placebo group who withdrew after randomisation was not included in the ITT population. Remdesivir use was not associated with a difference in time to clinical improvement (hazard ratio 1·23 [95% CI 0·87-1·75]). Although not statistically significant, patients receiving remdesivir had a numerically faster time to clinical improvement than those receiving placebo among patients with symptom duration of 10 days or less (hazard ratio 1·52 [0·95-2·43]). Adverse events were reported in 102 (66%) of 155 remdesivir recipients versus 50 (64%) of 78 placebo recipients. Remdesivir was stopped early because of adverse events in 18 (12%) patients versus four (5%) patients who stopped placebo early.

INTERPRETATION: In this study of adult patients admitted to hospital for severe COVID-19, remdesivir was not associated with statistically significant clinical benefits. However, the numerical reduction in time to clinical improvement in those treated earlier requires confirmation in larger studies.

FUNDING: Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences Emergency Project of COVID-19, National Key Research and Development Program of China, the Beijing Science and Technology Project.


Related DynaMed Topics

Ratings
Discipline Area Score
Hospital Doctor/Hospitalists 6 / 7
Internal Medicine 6 / 7
Infectious Disease 6 / 7
Emergency Medicine 6 / 7
Respirology/Pulmonology 6 / 7
Tropical and Travel Medicine 6 / 7
Family Medicine (FM)/General Practice (GP) 5 / 7
General Internal Medicine-Primary Care(US) 5 / 7
Comments from MORE raters

Emergency Medicine rater

Interesting article because of the number of patients and the new disease. There are some small (non significant) differences in the two treatment groups, however, remdesevir patients were older (66 vs 64 years), more persons with diabetes, hypertension, and coronary diseases, and more were woman. This might have influenced the results. I agree with the conclusion that further studies are needed.

Emergency Medicine rater

Very useful information for the pandemic.

Family Medicine (FM)/General Practice (GP) rater

Good start. It is relevant to my work in advising patients about treatments they may want, or be, offered.

Infectious Disease rater

These results are useful in supporting ongoing randomized controlled trials with this drug. Early termination resulted in reducing statistical power from 80% to 58%, so simply stated, results are inconclusive.

Tropical and Travel Medicine rater

This study has been widely reported in the secular media so the results are known. The details and reasons are important so should be published.
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