WHO recommends against using remdesivir to treat COVID-19

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has updated its ongoing guidance on Covid-19 medications to advise against using the antiviral drug remdesivir to treat hospitalized patients, no matter how severe their illness may be.

According to the update, published in the medical journal the BMJ on Thursday, current evidence does not suggest remdesivir affects the risk of dying from Covid-19 or needing mechanical ventilation, among other important outcomes.

WHO’s new update comes about a month after the company Gilead Sciences, the maker of remdesivir, announced that the US Food and Drug Administration approved remdesivir for the treatment of coronavirus infection. The drug became the first coronavirus treatment to receive FDA approval.

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Gilead Sciences, the maker of remdesivir, which is sold under the name Veklury, said that the antiviral has been recommended by other organizations and countries based on “robust evidence from multiple randomized, controlled studies published in peer-reviewed journals.”

“We are disappointed the WHO guidelines appear to ignore this evidence at a time when cases are dramatically increasing around the world and doctors are relying on Veklury as the first and only approved antiviral treatment for patients with COVID-19 in approximately 50 countries,” the company said.

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