Tests with antivirals Remdesivir and Interferon, drugs that represented hope for treatment against covid-19, failed to increase the survival of patients infected with the new coronavirus.
The Solidarity study by the World Health Organization (WHO) involved more than 11,300 adults admitted to 405 hospitals in 30 countries. Four drugs were tested, alone or combined with each other: Remdesivir, Hydroxychloroquine, Lopinavir, Interferon or Interferon plus Lopinavir.
About 4,100 formed the so-called placebo group. In the case of Remdesivir, of the 2,743 hospitalized patients who received the drug, 11% died, compared to 11.2% in the control group.
For the director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, cardiologist Eric Topol, “the most disappointing results are those of Interferon”. The research shows that mortality among the 2,050 patients who were given pure protein or combined with Lopinavir or Ritonavir was 11.9%, against 10.5% in the control group.
Remdesivir has always been considered the most promising drug against Sars-CoV-2. A study of 1,000 American patients, published last week, showed that the drug reduced the recovery time for hospitalized patients, but made no significant difference in mortality (the same result was achieved by two other studies in the USA).
Of the four studies carried out by the WHO, two were abandoned in June, when a survey in the United Kingdom with Hydroxychloroquine and the combination of Ritonavir and Lopinavir revealed that none of them increased the survival of patients with covid-19.
After analyzing the work of its scientists and that of British researchers, WHO withdrew Solidarity’s medicines. Remdesivir and Interferon remained, which proved ineffective in reducing mortality, the need for mechanical ventilation or the length of hospital stay.
“It is better to know whether a drug works or not than not to know and continue to use it,” said WHO chief scientist, pediatrician Soumya Swaminathan.