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NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

NIH Trial Shows Drug Speeds Recovery from Advanced COVID-19

Hospitalized patients with advanced COVID-19 and lung involvement who received remdesivir recovered faster than similar patients who received placebo, according to a preliminary data analysis from a randomized, controlled trial involving 1,063 patients, which began on Feb. 21. The trial (known as the Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial, or ACTT), sponsored by NIAID, is the first clinical trial launched in the United States to evaluate an experimental treatment for COVID-19. 

An independent data and safety monitoring board overseeing the trial met on Apr. 27 to review data and shared their interim analysis with the study team. Based on their review of the data, they noted that remdesivir was better than placebo from the perspective of the primary endpoint, time to recovery, a metric often used in influenza trials. Recovery in this study was defined as being well enough for hospital discharge or returning to normal activity level.   

Preliminary results indicate that patients who received remdesivir had a 31 percent faster time to recovery than those who received placebo. Specifically, the median time to recovery was 11 days for patients treated with remdesivir compared with 15 days for those who received placebo. Results also suggested a survival benefit, with a mortality rate of 8 percent for the group receiving remdesivir versus 11.6 percent for the placebo group.

More detailed information about the trial results, including more comprehensive data, will be available in a forthcoming report. As part of the Food and Drug Administration’s commitment to expediting the development and availability of potential COVID-19 treatments, the agency has been engaged in sustained and ongoing discussions with Gilead Sciences regarding making remdesivir available to patients as quickly as possible, as appropriate. 

Remdesivir, developed by Gilead Sciences Inc., is an investigational broad-spectrum antiviral treatment administered via daily infusion for 10 days. It has shown promise in animal models for treating SARS-CoV-2 (which causes COVID-19) infection and has been examined in various clinical trials.

The NIH Record

The NIH Record, founded in 1949, is the biweekly newsletter for employees of the National Institutes of Health.

Published 25 times each year, it comes out on payday Fridays.

Associate Editor: Carla Garnett
Carla.Garnett@nih.gov

Staff Writers:

Eric Bock
Eric.Bock@nih.gov

Dana Talesnik
Dana.Talesnik@nih.gov

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