COVID-19 clinical trial shows encouraging results

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Covid -19 patients involved in a clinical trial of the drug Remdesivir at Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust are recovering faster than expected. This supports the results of a trial conducted in healthcare organisations around the world on behalf of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAD) which showed  patients who received Remdesivir recovered a third faster than those on a placebo.

The drug has yet to be approved and there is more work to do, but the early indications are that the drug is safe and effective.

The drug itself has been developed over the last decade by therapeutics company, Gilead, initially in response to Ebola and has been tried in other coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS.

One of the first patients in the country to receive the drug was treated at Castle Hill Hospital and is now at home recovering. So far, ten patients have taken part in the trial which is being conducted on the infectious diseases ward.

Professor Alyn Morice, who leads the trials unit in Hull, said:

“There is a long way to go in testing this drug before it can be approved for general use but our trial certainly indicates that we have reason to be optimistic that Remdesivir is effective. In general terms, the patients we treated with the drug are recovering much faster than expected.

“I have personally just recovered from Covid-19 myself and it was extremely unpleasant, so while we are cautious about this drug anything which might help patients is very welcome news.”

Patrick Lillie, Infectious Diseases Consultant at Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and lead clinician for the trial, said:

“We are seeing the impact that Covid-19 has on our patients every day. For those in hospital it isn’t an easy experience at all, and clearly some people are symptomatic for weeks not days. The Infectious Diseases team are really pleased to have been involved in this early trial of Remdesivir but we must stress that it is not available to use at the present time, except within a clinical trial.”