The U.N. health agency says the world's largest randomized trial of COVID-19 treatments found “conclusive evidence” that remdesivir, a drug used to treat U.S. President Donald Trump when he fell ill, has little or no effect on severe cases.
The World Health Organization announced Friday the long-awaited results of its six-month “Solidarity Therapeutics Trial” that endeavored to see if existing drugs might have an effect on the coronavirus.
The study, which was not peer-reviewed, found that four treatments tested — remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir and interferon — had “ little or no effect" on whether or not patients died within about a month or whether hospitalized patients recovered.
Most of those had already been ruled out. But remdesivir, a repurposed malaria drug, has been classified as standard-of-care in the United States, and it has been approved for use against COVID-19 in the UK and EU. Supplies of the drug have been limited, and the European Medicines Agency is now reviewing whether remdesivir is causing kidney problems as reported by some patients.
Here's an update on all developments. Scroll or swipe further for in-depth coverage.
- The CEO of Pfizer said in an open letter Friday that although the company could have preliminary numbers by the end of October about whether its vaccine works, it would still need to collect safety and manufacturing data that will stretch the timeline to at least the third week of November.
- The Trump White House has installed two political operatives at the nation’s top public health agency to try to control the information it releases about the coronavirus pandemic as the administration seeks to paint a positive outlook, sometimes at odds with the scientific evidence.
- About 8,000 people landed in Hawaii on the first day of a pre-travel testing program that allowed travelers to come to the islands without quarantining for two weeks if they could produce a negative coronavirus test.
- China is rapidly increasing the number of people receiving its experimental coronavirus vaccines, with a city offering one to the general public and a biotech company providing another free to students going abroad.
- Doctors are warning that Europe is at a turning point as the coronavirus surges back across the continent, including among vulnerable people, and governments try to impose restrictions without locking whole economies down.
- Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin has left the European Union summit “as a precautionary measure” and is flying back home to undergo a coronavirus test.
- As Italian health officials declare that the resurgence of COVID-19 has reached an “acute phase,” a virologist says that Italy has two weeks to stop the spread or risk following European neighbors where exponential spreads have brought back harsh restrictions.
- England's northwestern county of Lancashire, home to 1.5 million people, has agreed to accept the most severe level of COVID-19 restrictions as the British government warned Friday that it has the authority to impose such measures on high-risk areas that continue to resist.
- The Indianapolis Colts say they have closed their practice facility after “several individuals” tested positive for COVID-19.