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Source: United Kingdom – Executive Government & Departments

Gilead Science have announced the beginning of phase 3 randomised studies of remdesivir in the UK, in patients with moderate or severe COVID-19.

Prof Graham Cooke, NIHR Research Professor, Imperial College London, said:

“Remdesivir is one of the most promising treatments for COVID-19.  Although it looks promising in the test tube, we need clinical studies to test whether it meaningfully improves the outcomes of illness for patients.  Several NHS sites will be taking part in these two international trials, giving patients early access to treatment, alongside other studies comparing the performance of different potential treatments.  The next few weeks will see a huge amount of trial data emerging which will hopefully help to improve patient outcomes during this current peak in the pandemic.”

Dr Stephen Griffin, Associate Professor, Leeds Institute of Medical Research, University of Leeds, and Chair, Virus Division, Microbiology Society, said:

“The news that Gilead is supporting phase three UK COVID19 trials for remdesivir is most welcome.  This broad-spectrum antiviral agent is well accepted to hold promise for the treatment of COVID19, based upon efficacy in SARS-CoV2 and related coronavirus model systems.  Critically, the proposed clinical studies will allow the true efficacy of this agent to be determined in the human scenario, plus the numbers of patients involved should highlight any potential safety concerns in COVID patients that may not be evident from its previous use on a compassionate basis.  However, remdesivir trials did take place during the Ebola outbreak in western Africa, and others are ongoing for the treatment of patients with ongoing Ebola infections.

“Given that a SARS-CoV2 vaccine may require several months to develop and scale up, an effective antiviral therapy has tremendous potential to lessen the severity of COVID19 in the short to medium term.  Thus, despite the need for intravenous administration, use of this agent in a hospital setting could have a profound impact upon the ability of healthcare systems to cope with this extraordinary pandemic.”

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MIL OSI United Kingdom