Washington, April 27 (IANS) After witnessing a controversial ‘inconclusive' report last week, all eyes are now on preliminary results from a key global trial of US-based Gilead Sciences' remdesivir, a potential antiviral drug to treat COVID-19, that will be out in the next one-two weeks.
Dr Andre Kalil, a principal investigator from University of Nebraska Medical Center for the trial sponsored by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), told CNN on Monday that “we can potentially have some early data in the next one or two weeks”.
“In the next few weeks, we're going to do the analysis, and we're going to basically know if remdesivir is better or not than placebo,” he was quoted as saying.
Citing a draft document prepared by the WHO which was accidentally leaked, a report in the Financial Times claimed last week that a Chinese trial showed remdesivir did not improve patients' condition or reduce the virus' presence in the bloodstream.
Gilead reacted to the reports, saying that draft document included “inappropriate characterisations of the study” which is “inconclusive”.
“Importantly, because this study was terminated early due to low enrollment, it was underpowered to enable statistically meaningful conclusions,” said the biotech firm.
The new study is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
The trial began at the University of Nebraska Medical Center but has since expanded to nearly 70 clinical trial sites globally.
“We want to see something that really matters, something that really changed the outcomes of these patients,” said Kalil.
Earlier, shares of Gilead Sciences surged following a media report that the company's antiviral drug remdesivir showed promise in treating COVID-19 patients in a “closely watched clinical trial” at the University of Chicago Medical Center.
According to a report in the health-oriented news website STAT, most of the patients recruited for the studies reported fast recoveries in fever and respiratory symptoms.
Gilead's severe COVID-19 study includes 2,400 participants from 152 different clinical trial sites all over the world.
Remdesivir by Gilead Sciences is one of several drugs being fast-tracked into trials by the World Health Organization, comparing potential treatments in hospitalised COVID-19 patients in a dozen countries, including Canada.