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Is the COVID-19 Vaccine Remdesivir?

Updated on April 19, 2020

Gilead, a renowned pharma firm, currently has revealed the results of a very small and limited trial on Covid-19 patients using Remdesivir, a drug originally deleloped and used against Ebola.

Gilead revealed this data at the University of Chicago. Their limited trial included 125 virus patents, of which, were 113 severely impacted by the virus. While there was no control arm in this study and the number involved was small, the results were fairly eye popping.

This test group were given daily doses of Remdesvir, an antiviral drug. After a week of treatment, the majority of the group were discharged. Of that group, two did die from virus complications and the drug seemed to not have impacted them as it did the others. The use of the drug on all the patients did see a dramatic drop of fever in a quick manner. Some patients who were on ventilators when it began, in just a few days, were off them.

The side effects were not addressed in the study. The overall impact is promising but a much larger study group with a control arm and placebo needs to be done to confirm this. Meanwhile, other hospitals in California are now using the drug for their own small tests since there are hundreds of patients in Orange County.

The NIH is also using the drug on test monkeys. In this test, after 12 hours of treatment intravenously, the test subjects showed great improvement in previous lung infection with a virus that causes COVID-19. The monkeys that did not receive the drug showed the lung infection had become worse and created shallow breathing. The monkeys continued the treatment for another six days. While this study seems to concur with the results on humans, it was noted that while Remdesivir helped prevent pneumonia, it did not reduce virus shedding by the animals. This is the bad news to prevent the virus from spreading as it has. The study also showed that large doses given early on severe patients, really made a difference in pulmonary functioning.

As many hope, this might be the vaccine, at least in part. While it cannot prevent you from catching the virus, it could turn a severe case into a mild one.

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