(HealthDay News) — For patients hospitalized with COVID-19, remdesivir is superior for shortening time to recovery compared with placebo, according to a study published online Oct. 8 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

John H. Beigel, M.D., from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues conducted a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of intravenous remdesivir in hospitalized adults with COVID-19 who had evidence of lower respiratory tract infection. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either remdesivir or placebo for up to 10 days (541 and 521 patients, respectively).

The researchers found that the median recovery time was 10 days for those receiving remdesivir compared with 15 days for those receiving placebo (rate ratio for recovery, 1.29). Patients receiving remdesivir were more likely to have clinical improvement at day 15 compared with those receiving placebo in an analysis using a proportional-odds model with an eight-category ordinal scale (odds ratio, 1.5 after adjustment for disease severity). The Kaplan-Meier estimates of mortality were 6.7 and 11.9 percent for remdesivir and placebo, respectively, by day 15 and 11.4 and 15.2 percent, respectively, by day 29, which did not differ significantly. Serious adverse events were reported for 24.6 and 31.6 percent of patients receiving remdesivir and placebo, respectively.

“Given high mortality despite the use of remdesivir, it is clear that treatment with an antiviral drug alone is not likely to be sufficient for all patients,” the authors write.

Several study authors disclosed ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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