WHO Solidarity Trial Shows Remdesivir Doesn't Prevent COVID-19 Deaths


Oct. 16 2020, Updated 12:04 p.m. ET

The World Health Organization sponsored a clinical study to determine the effectiveness of various repurposed drugs in preventing COVID-19 deaths. In the end, the Solidarity Therapeutics Trial—which tested remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir, and interferon regimens—showed that the drugs had "little to no effect" on preventing COVID-19 deaths.  

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who remdesivir study
Source: istock

A peek into the Remdesivir study

Over the course of six months, the WHO-sponsored Solidarity Therapeutics Trial tested repurposed drugs on 11,000 people in 30 countries. The participants were all hospitalized with a COVID-19 diagnosis and took remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir, or interferon regimens.

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The study specifically analyzed how the drugs affected:

  • mortality rates
  • initiation of ventilation
  • duration of hospital stay
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Remdesivir is an antiviral drug that was originally developed to treat Ebola and hepatitis C. In fact, it's the only antiviral drug eligible for use in the U.S. as a treatment for the coronavirus. Experts have questioned remdesivir's effectiveness in battling the COVID-19 pandemic for months, especially since President Trump used the drug after his own COVID-19 diagnosis.

In April, President Trump pushed the FDA to approve remdesivir as a treatment for the coronavirus. When he took the drug in early October, he continued to boast about its effectiveness.

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However, the massive study from the WHO puts that sentiment to rest. In the end, remdesivir and its repurposed counterparts don't function effectively in a COVID-19 setting.

Who makes remdesivir?

Gilead Sciences makes remdesivir. The company developed the antiviral drug decades ago, but the recent potential for an ulterior purpose has brought it back into the limelight.

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gilead sciences remdesivir study
Source: Getty

With the drug's potential officially squashed by the WHO and all the international hospitals that participated in the study, it looks like Gilead Sciences will use remdesivir on other kinds of infections.

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What is Gilead's stock price today?

Gilead Sciences, which goes by the ticker symbol "GILD" on the Nasdaq Exchange, is seeing a slight decline in the stock market. On Oct. 15, the stock closed at $64.05 after a 0.83 percent dip throughout the day. The stock is down 3.48 percent YTD.

The latest Gilead Sciences dip started on Oct. 12 when the stock was about 2.5 percent higher than it is now. The stock took a tumble with numerous sweeping fluctuations in late September and early October, which was around the same time that President Trump was on the remdesivir regimen.

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What is Regeneron's stock price today?

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals is another player in the coronavirus treatment game. The company developed an experimental COVID-19 antibody cocktail. President Trump took the cocktail when he had the virus.

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Regeneron, or "REGN" on the Nasdaq Exchange, closed at $600.82 on Oct. 15. The stock has dipped 2.15 percent since the market opened on Oct. 16. Overall, Regeneron has increased more than 56 percent YTD.

U.S. stock futures today

In the Senate, talks of an additional economic stimulus for U.S. citizens seems to be simmering down. At the same time, the stock market as a whole closed lower. A week of third-quarter earnings reports left investors redistributing their portfolios. All things considered, U.S. stock futures are up on Oct. 16 (0.3 percent in the green for futures tied to the S&P 500) to close the week.


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