A Setback for Remdesivir—and Sunlight

Remdesivir vial

Hopes for a promising COVID-19 treatment suffered a setback yesterday after WHO inadvertently published a summary of a remdesivir clinical trial on its website, STAT reports.

The summary, which has since been removed, showed the drug "failed to speed the improvement of patients with Covid-19 or prevent them from dying," according to STAT.

However, remdesivir’s maker Gilead Sciences says the summary wasn’t entirely accurate and sees a silver lining. The trial conducted in China didn’t achieve "statistically meaningful conclusions" because it stopped early because of a lack of patients. The drug may benefit COVID-19 patients if they are treated early, a spokesperson said.

"It could mean that there’s a window of time where the drug must be administered, and if a case is severe, it’s too late to be impactful," tweetedAmesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for Health Security.

Multiple trials of the drug are underway so more news on its efficacy will be forthcoming.

The search for a treatment turned more desperate yesterday as President Trump suggested injecting disinfectant into a patient’s lungs yesterday at his daily presser, NBC reports. He also noted the power of sunlight to kill the virus, theorizing there might be a way to bring "the light inside the body."

White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx said sunlight isn’t a treatment, The New York Times noted.