COVID-19 Treatment Update: Australians Set To Use Ebola Drug To Control Infection

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Initially developed to treat Ebola, remdesivir has been hailed as one of the most effective antiviral drugs for COVID-19 treatment, and Aussies are all set to use it for the patients testing positive.

The National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce advocated the use of the drug, confirming it to be the most recommended treatment for Coronavirus infections for the first time. It has asked Australian doctors to use it to treat the patients to foster their recovery process.  On May 1, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the drug as the first therapy to be used for COVID-19 during an emergency.

The task force stated that people from moderate to critical symptoms could be effectively treated using this drug, as depicted from the latest COVID-19 clinical trials. Associate Professor and chair of the taskforce Julian Elliott regarded it as a “significant step forward” in the phase of the pandemic. “This is the first information we have that a drug has a beneficial effect as a treatment for COVID-19,” he told newsGP.

The recommendations of the task force came following the two trials published recently. One of them was conducted in China published in The Lancet on April 29, and another one was a preliminary report from the Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment trial published in The New England Journal of Medicine on May 22.

“The preliminary data published so far from two clinical trials indicate that it can reduce the time for someone to recover from COVID-19. However, we do not yet have definitive information that remdesivir will reduce the risk of dying from the disease,” Elliott added.

Though Remdesivir is yet to receive authentication to be used in Australia, the federal government has approved and allowed the drug for clinical trials and compassionate use, taking into consideration a few aspects of the Therapeutic Goods Act. Elliott also said that the task force continues to review evidence to make sure the recommendation gets validated and evaluated in less than two weeks for further progress in the process of finding an effective COVID-19 treatment.

“As of today, we can’t say if it has any effect on mortality. But I think for people who are still seriously unwell, who are hospitalized, as we recommend, it should definitely be considered as a potential treatment,” Elliott added.