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expert reaction to press release from Gilead where they report early use of remdesivir (Veklury®) reduces risk of hospitalisation in high risk individuals with COVID-19

The pharmaceutical company Gilead have press released results that report to show that early use of remdesivir (Veklury®) reduces risk of hospitalisation in high risk individuals with COVID-19.


Dr Stephen Griffin, Associate Professor in the School of Medicine, University of Leeds, said:

“These results sound incredibly encouraging in terms of the usefulness of remdesivir to treat SARS-CoV2 infection. Being able to prevent the onset of severe disease could be pivotal in the clinically vulnerable, or following acute exposure in a health care setting, for example.

“Previous trials have provided conflicting evidence regarding the use of this drug to treat severe COVID in patients at later stages of infection. This is likely due to the immunological aspects of this disease that may, or may not, be directly driven by the virus itself. We also know from animal models that early treatment provides the best protection from SARS-CoV2 infection, so it is reassuring to see this in humans as well.

“Although having to administer the agent intravenously will naturally limit feasibility for treating patients en masse, this hurdle can be overcome when necessary, plus the active metabolite/form of remdesivir (generated by enzymatic modification of the drug in our cells) may well be usable as an oral therapy in the future.

“Establishing the effectiveness of remdesivir also provides scope for combination therapies in the future as, for example, the new protease inhibitor drugs developed by Pfizer look very promising. This might be useful for treating more severe cases, or indeed to mitigate against the potential emergence of drug resistant viruses. Resistance is more likely to occur when antiviral drugs are used as single therapies in large numbers of patients – using more than one drug makes the chances of a resistant form occurring much less likely.”



All our previous output on this subject can be seen at this weblink:



Declared interests

Dr Stephen Griffin: “No conflicts.”

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