NIH updates remdesivir treatment guidelines

The National Institutes of Health has updated its treatment guidelines for Gilead's remdesivir, the antiviral drug that has received emergency authorization from the FDA to treat COVID-19. 

The agency said July 17 that in situations where supplies of remdesivir are limited, it recommends prioritizing remdesivir for use in hospitalized patients who require supplemental oxygen but aren't mechanically ventilated. 

The NIH said the update was made because of a clinical trial that showed patients with severe COVID-19 who received remdeivir had a shorter time to recovery than those who received the placebo, but that the drug has the clearest benefit in hospitalized patients who require supplemental oxygen but not ventilation. 

The agency said there is uncertainty as to whether remdesivir has an impact on the course of COVID-19 disease in patients who are on mechanical ventilation. 

The NIH also said that there is insufficient data on the optimal duration of remdesiivr treatment for patients who haven't shown substantial clinical improvement after five days, so some providers may consider extending the total remdesivir treatment duration to up to 10 days. 

There is still insufficient data for the NIH to recommend either for or against the use of remdesivir for the treatment of patients with mild or moderate COVID-19, the agency said. 

The NIH said it expects to release additional updates to remdesivir recommendations soon.

Read the agency's full remdesivir guidance here.


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