WHO Research Trial Says That Repurposed Drugs Are Not Effective Against COVID-19 Virus

The coronavirus pandemic has led scientists and researchers around the world to work around the clock to develop the COVID-19 vaccine. It has upheaval the entire economy and killed more than one million people across the globe. However, to fight against this virus, doctors repurposed the existing drugs to treat COVID-19 patients.

Antiviral drugs such as Hydroxychloroquine, Remdesivir, Lopinavir/Ritonavir, and Interferon are currently the top drugs that are being used to treat the patients. The recent research trial by the World Health Organization (WHO) says that the afore-mentioned drugs have little to no effect on the patients’ time spent in the hospital or the mortality rate. This research finding was released on medRvix. The results are disappointing as the world relied on these drugs. Nevertheless, the research trial has not been reviewed yet again so nothing concrete can’t be said about it.

“In just six months, the world’s largest randomized control trial on COVID-19 therapeutics has generated conclusive evidence on the effectiveness of repurposed drugs for the treatment of COVID-19,” WHO said in a statement. “Interim results from the Solidarity Therapeutics Trial, coordinated by the World Health Organization, indicate that remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir, and interferon regimens appeared to have little or no effect on 28-day mortality or the in-hospital course of COVID-19 among hospitalized patients,” the global organization added.

The research trial of the drugs was done across 30 countries and took place in 405 hospitals. Over 11,266 patients were involved in this trial. Gilead Sciences said in a statement that this trial has not undergone a critical review so no “conclusive findings” should be put forward from the results. As of writing, over 39 Million people have been infected with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Remdesivir was used as one of the earliest medicine for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. The drug produced by American pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences was initially used for the treatment of Ebola, hepatitis C, and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) infection. The company said that its drug reduced the recovery period for COVID-19 patients to just four days. Many countries including South Korea, India, Israel, U.S., and the UK used this drug for the treatment. Moreover, U.S. President Donald Trump who was admitted at the beginning of October also consumed this drug.

“It’s certainly disappointing,” Julie Fischer, an associate research professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Georgetown University told Al Jazeera. “What all of us would like to see is what is frequently called a ‘magic bullet’; a drug that’s already in existence, that is safe and works effectively in patients. Unfortunately, in this case, this trial at least suggests the benefits of remdesivir weren’t there at all.”

Various pharmaceutical companies are working in aid with government bodies to pace up the development of COVID-19 vaccines. Russia had already registered its first coronavirus vaccine named “Sputnik V” while it has approved another coronavirus vaccine just after early trials. Meanwhile, drug companies are also witnessing obstruction in the development of the coronavirus vaccine. For instance, Eli Lily paused the COVID-19 antibody trial due to safety concerns while Johnson and Johnson recently announced that it has paused the trials on account of the unexplained illness in a patient.