Don't use remdesivir in hospitalized coronavirus patients, WHO panel advises

November 20, 2020 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has advised against using Gilead’s remdesivir in patients hospitalized with coronavirus, weeks after the drug was shown to have “little or no effect” during the agency’s multicountry Solidarity Trial.

The WHO’s Guideline Development Group (GDP) issued the updated guidance on Friday and said it was based on evidence that found the costly, intravenous drug had no meaningful effect on death rates. The drug must be administered for five to 10 days intravenously and was the first to be granted FDA approval for COVID-19 treatment.

“The … panel found a lack of evidence that remdesivir improved outcomes that matter to patients,” the GDP said Friday, according to Reuters. “Especially, given the costs and resource implications associated with remdesivir… the panel felt the responsibility should be on demonstrating evidence of efficacy, which is not established by the currently available data.”


The antiviral, known as Veklury, was first approved by the FDA to treat coronavirus patients in October and was part of the regimen given to President Donald Trump during his diagnosis. Gilead had published results from a phase 3 ACTT-1 trial shortly before the approval that “demonstrated faster recovery times” in adults hospitalized with mild to severe coronavirus cases.

As such, the FDA approved it for use in adult and pediatric patients 12 years of age and older weighing at least 88 pounds for treatment of COVID-19 that required hospitalization.


However, the WHO’s Solidarity Trial showed the drug had little or no effect on 28-day mortality or length of hospital stay for coronavirus patients. It was one of four tested in the trial with the researchers concluding “the main outcomes of mortality, initiation of ventilation and hospitalization duration were not clearly reduced by any study drug.”

The WHO’s conclusions on remdesivir are in contrast with an NIH-led study that found it to shorten patients’ path to recovery by up to four days. Those results were further upheld in a second study and led Gilead to question the WHO’s Solidarity Trial and the new guidance.


“Veklury is recognized as a standard of care for the treatment of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 in guidelines from numerous credible national organizations,” the company said, according to Reuters. “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.

The guidelines were issued a day after the FDA granted emergency approval to a drug combo that included remdesivir to treat hospitalized coronavirus patients.

Fox News' Kayla Rivas contributed to this report. 

Latest News

November 26, 2020
Flynn praises Trump for 'Pardon of Innocence,' family says 'tyranny will not topple us'

Michael Flynn, who received a full pardon from President Trump on Wednesday, described it as a "Pardon of Innocence," while the former Army lieutenant general's family praised the commander-in-chief and said the move proves "tyranny" will not prevail. "This 'Pardon of Innocence' is historic, sincerely appreciated & should never happen in our country again. I […]

Read More
November 26, 2020
Joe Biden transition team briefed on 'Operation Warp Speed'

Trump administration officials began meeting with President-elect Joe Biden's transition team on Wednesday to go over "Operation Warp Speed," the effort to rapidly mobilize the distribution of coronavirus vaccines and treatments, according to a report. The initial meeting, one of more to come, focused on vaccines as it strives to inform Biden's health officials on […]

Read More
November 26, 2020
Joe Exotic's reps have spent $10K at Trump's hotels, seeking pardon

Advocates for Joe Exotic -- the ex-Oklahoma zookeeper convicted of trying to hire a hit man to kill rival Carole Baskin -- have spent $10,000 at President Trump's hotel in a desperate bid to get the commander in chief to pardon him, according to a new report. The eye-popping bill at Trump International Hotel in […]

Read More
November 26, 2020
What is President Trump doing on Thanksgiving?

For the first time since he was sworn in as president nearly four years ago, President Trump will not spend Thanksgiving at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Although the president was initially scheduled to travel to Palm Beach for the holiday, Stephanie Grisham, spokeswoman for first lady Melania Trump, tweeted last week that the Trumps […]

Read More
November 26, 2020
Vladimir Putin allegedly has a secret lovechild with cleaner now worth $100M

Russian President Vladimir Putin may be the father of a secret teenage lovechild with a cleaner who is now worth more than $100 million, according to a report. An investigation by Russian media outlet Proekt has linked the notoriously secretive 68-year-old leader to Svetlana Krivonogikh, who now lives in an elite area of St. Petersburg […]

Read More
November 26, 2020
Sidney Powell Files Lawsuits Challenging Election Results in Georgia, Michigan

Powell made similar claims last week at a press conference with President Donald Trump's legal team. She was attacked by critics who claimed that she could not prove what she alleged. The legal team distanced themselves from her on Sunday, saying that her claims had gone beyond the evidence they had seen or could prove […]

Read More