Experimental Covid-19 treatment remdesivir flopped in China trial: FT

The Chinese trial of experimental coronavirus treatment remdesivir did not “improve patients’ condition” or “remove the pathogen’s presence” in their bloodstream, the FT says

08 April 2020, Hamburg: An ampoule of the drug Remdesivir is lying on one hand during a press conference at the University Hospital Eppendorf (UKE). The hospital management informed about the start of the study with the Ebola drug Remdesivir in particularly severely ill patients with Covid-19. Photo by: Ulrich Perrey/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

TAIPEI (The China Post) –The Financial Times reported on Thursday that the Chinese trial of experimental coronavirus treatment remdesivir did not “improve patients’ condition” or “remove the pathogen’s presence” in their bloodstream.

According to draft documents published accidentally by the World Health Organization, the trial compiled data from 237 patients, 158 of whom received the drug.

Significant side effects were reportedly seen in some patients, however, which meant that 18 were taken off the drug.

In a statement obtained by Fox News, a Gilead Sciences spokesperson said the WHO documents “included inappropriate characterizations” of the study.

“We regret that the WHO prematurely posted information regarding the study, which has since been removed. The investigators in this study did not provide permission for publication of results,” the statement said.

In the U.S., Remdesivir is still awaiting regulatory approval as a coronavirus treatment, Fox News said.

Remdesivir’s potential gained currency as a possible COVID-19 treatment in early March when the New England Journal of Medicine described the first case of the novel coronavirus in the U.S. and indicated that the drug mitigated the patient’s symptoms.

The Gilead research team for the development of remdesivir was led by a Taiwanese scientist, Taiyin Yang (楊台瑩) who received her bachelor’s degree from National Taiwan University (NTU) and her Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Southern California (USC).

Yang was appointed executive vice president of pharmaceutical development and manufacturing by Gilead Sciences in 2005 and has since overseen all investigated compounds and marketed products in the company.