The antiviral drug remdesivir, produced by Gilead Sciences Inc., has shown benefit in the treatment of COVID-19. The results were obtained in a study conducted by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) that included 1,063 patients. The drug shortened the recovery time in the treatment group from 15 days to 11 days vs the untreated group. Most antiviral drugs work by interfering with viral replication leaving fewer viruses with which the body must contend. The body is less likely to be overwhelmed than if the virus had been allowed to multiply unimpeded. As with all viruses, however, it is ultimately the body’s immune system that must destroy it. The fact that remdesivir decreases the ability of the virus to multiply would explains how the drug shortens the duration of the illness. The praise for remdesivir in the media has been over the top. The fact is the media continues to hate a President who promoted another drug, hydroxychloroquine, as a treatment. It was even speculated that the President must own stock in the manufacturer of the drug. Suddenly remdesivir (a drug not promoted by the President) shows promise in a SINGLE study and the media is wildly enthusiastic. Dr. Fauci hailed remdesivir as well comparing it to the first medication discovered to treat HIV over thirty years ago. I personally don’t feel that Dr. Fauci is an unbiased observer in this entire pandemic. Back in January he stated the coronavirus would not affect the U.S. to a significant extent. Now that he has been proven wrong, all his statements regarding the virus are negative. His recent predictions have been drastically high with regard to the number of cases and fatalities. I feel he is part of the Deep State and hopes to destroy Trump and the Trump economy. Fauci would have us shelter in place through Summer and into Fall and then expect a second round of spread in the Fall.
Remdesivir is not a knockout blow to the COVID-19 virus but it may be life-saving in the most vulnerable patients. Gilead reported that patients who received the medication early in the course of the infection did better than those who received it later in the disease. Preliminary study results showed that patients who received the drug had a 31 percent faster time to recovery than those receiving placebo, cutting the hospital stay an average of four days. It appeared to improve survival as well, however the Gilead data fell short of statistical significance. Prior to this study results with remdesivir were mixed. For instance a study of the drug in the treatment of COVID-19 carried out in China did not show any benefit. Remdesivir was studied in the past as a treatment for the Ebola virus but found to have an unacceptably high mortality rate. Every medication has the potential for risks and side effects, including death in some cases. With remdesivir the most common side effects are reversible elevation in liver enzymes and nausea. Antivirals have resulted in bone marrow suppression and anemia in some patients. Gilead’s data appeared strong enough to receive the FDA’s emergency use authorization to be given in critically ill patients. At this point the only treatment for COVID-19 is supportive (oxygen, IV fluids, antibiotics when indicated). Remdesivir is not a cure but it may increase survival in the sickest patients.