The release of remdesivir data has been a mess. Photo: Ulrich Perrey/AFP via Getty Images

If you feel like you're suffering whiplash from the new, conflicting study data on Gilead Sciences' experimental coronavirus drug, remdesivir, you're not alone.

The big picture: Remdesivir could provide some help and lay the groundwork for more research, but this drug on its own does not appear to be any kind of "cure" for the novel coronavirus.

What's happening: Remdesivir helped coronavirus patients get out of the hospital modestly quicker, based on early reads of an important and rigorously designed trial run by the National Institutes of Health.

  • That could be encouraging for those who get sick.

Yes, but: Analysts and experts were cautious about drawing too many conclusions without the full data from NIH — especially considering the primary outcome was changed mid-trial, and a separate randomized trial concluded remdesivir does little, if anything, to combat the virus.

  • "Remdesivir is a real drug for COVID ... but again, not a silver bullet," Umer Raffat, a pharmaceutical analyst at Evercore ISI, wrote to investors on Wednesday.
  • And because the drug has limited efficacy and likely works best before the infection gets too serious, "its availability is not going to move the needle on social distancing relaxation," tweeted Peter Bach, a physician and drug researcher at Memorial Sloan Kettering.

The bottom line: This near-constant back-and-forth over remdesivir reinforces how strong the science and data need to be for any treatment, or for the world's best hope: a vaccine.

Go deeper: The high stakes of low scientific standards

Go deeper

Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Aug 14, 2020 - Health

The kids who are most at risk from the coronavirus

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The coronavirus isn't as deadly for children as it is for adults, but kids still get it and can still get seriously sick from it. The risk is higher for Black and Hispanic children.

Why it matters: In communities with high caseloads, cases among children could explode as schools reopen. And kids in the communities already hit hardest by the pandemic are the most at risk.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Chris Christie: Wear a mask "or you may regret it — as I did" — Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted relief bill.
  2. Business: New state unemployment filings fall.
  3. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  4. Health: Many U.S. deaths were avoidable — The pandemic is getting worse again.
  5. Education: Boston and Chicago send students back home for online learning.
  6. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.