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Drugs disappointment triggers call for COVID-19 investment

Monday October 19th 2020

The world will need to pump billions more into COVID-19 studies after a series of disappointing drug trials, experts have said.

The World Health Organisation has announced that four major drugs, including remdesivir, have failed to demonstrate efficacy in a major international study.

The findings mean that world governments must step up investment in research, according to the medical charity Wellcome.

Nick Cammack, from Wellcome said: “We cannot afford to wait. The ACT-Accelerator urgently needs 7.2 billion dollars to continue the rapid pace of treatment research over the next six months.

“This pales in comparison to the estimated 375 billion dollars the global economy loses each month.

“Life can only return to normal through a range of effective Covid-19 treatments, tests and vaccines, alongside the resilient health systems to deliver them and public trust. These tools must be available to everyone who needs them, wherever they live or however rich they are. Covid-19 can be a preventable and treatable disease. But only if we invest in research now.”

WHO’s Solidarity Therapeutics Trial studied remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir and interferon, using randomised control trials from 30 countries. The study involved more than 11,000 adults and 405 hospitals. The findings were uploaded onto the pre-press server medRxiv.

None of the drugs delivered statistically significant positive or negative results, the researchers report. However, remdesivir was the only one to achieve positive results with patients receiving the drug having a 5% lower mortality rate than controls.

They report: “The mortality findings contain most of the randomized evidence on remdesivir and interferon and are consistent with meta-analyses of mortality in all major trials.”

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.10.15.20209817v1

Tags: Flu & Viruses | Pharmaceuticals | World Health

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