May 26, 2020 - Health

The final data for remdesivir is in

Red flowers in front of a sign with the Gilead Sciences logo.

Gilead is ramping up production of remdesivir. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Remdesivir, officially branded as Veklury, does indeed work for patients hospitalized with COVID-19, according to expert reads of the data that were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Yes, but: The benefits remain rather limited, as patients on the drug leave the hospital in 11 days vs. 15 days.

  • Remdesivir appeared to have no effect for the sickest patients who were on a ventilator or an ECMO machine.
  • The drug also did not lead to a statistically significant drop in deaths, just as the early readout suggested.

The bottom line: "These preliminary findings support the use of remdesivir for patients who are hospitalized with COVID-19 and require supplemental oxygen therapy," researchers wrote. "However, given high mortality despite the use of remdesivir, it is clear that treatment with an antiviral drug alone is not likely to be sufficient."

My thought bubble: Releasing highly anticipated data late on a Friday heading into a holiday weekend — even one that is hindered by quarantine — isn't quite the thing to do if you're really excited about something.

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