"We've only had two patients perish", said Kathleen Mullane, the University of Chicago infectious disease specialist overseeing the study, in a video conference with faculty members.
If the results of the trials are similar to those suggested in the video, caution should be exercised in drawing any firm conclusions because the trials are not placebo-controlled, meaning it can not be definitely said that the patients improved because they were taking the drug. The medical news website STAT News obtained a video of the discussion.
As the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic outbreak spreads like wildfire across the globe, the entire world is laying in anxious wait for a cure or a vaccine to combat the virus which has brought normal life to a standstill as nearly the entirety of human race have been forced to go into self-isolation and home-quarantine as major cities remain in strict lockdown, all in fear of the virus. Normally, clinical trials involve a "control" group, or a group basically given a non-effective treatment to eliminate a phenomenon known as "the placebo effect".
"But certainly when we start [the] drug, we see fever curves falling", she said.
The patients taking part in a clinical trial of the remdesivir drug have all had severe respiratory symptoms and fever. Mullane also shared that people have "come off ventilators a day after starting therapy".
What does this early peek at the data tell us? "We have very few that went out to 10 days, maybe three".
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An anitiviral medicine produced by Gilead Sciences of the U.S. has had positive results on patients with extreme forms of Covid-19, raising hopes that a treatment for the disease could be close.
The anti-viral drug was initially developed as a treatment for Ebola.
GlobalData suggested recently that remdesivir's antiviral mechanism means it "has the potential to decrease viral load in less-severe patients" with COVID-19, but that in those who are more critically ill "the disease's inflammatory impact becomes the more significant factor to address".
"What we can say at this stage is that we look forward to data from ongoing studies becoming available", Gilead said in a statement to STAT.
He also said the company was not in the process of conversation with Remdesivir maker Gilead Sciences on the issue.