MONDAY, April 13, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Improvement in oxygen support status was observed in 68 percent of patients hospitalized with severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) who received compassionate use of remdesivir, according to a study published online April 10 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Jonathan Grein, M.D., from the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and colleagues describe compassionate use of remdesivir in patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Patients had confirmed severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection with an oxygen saturation of 94 percent or less while breathing ambient air or were receiving oxygen support. Patients received a 10-day course of remdesivir; data were included from 53 patients who received remdesivir during Jan. 25 through March 7, 2020.

The researchers found that 57 and 8 percent of the patients were receiving mechanical ventilation and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, respectively, at baseline. Overall, 68 percent of the patients had an improvement in oxygen-support class during a median follow-up of 18 days, including 57 percent of the 30 patients receiving mechanical ventilation who were extubated. Forty-seven percent of patients (25 patients) were discharged and 13 percent (seven patients) died; mortality was 18 and 5 percent among patients receiving and not receiving invasive ventilation, respectively.

“The findings from these uncontrolled data will be informed by the ongoing randomized, placebo-controlled trials of remdesivir therapy for COVID-19,” the authors write.

The study was funded by Gilead Sciences, the manufacturer of remdesivir.

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