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Evaluation of the effectiveness of remdesivir in treating severe COVID-19 using data from the ISARIC WHO Clinical Characterisation Protocol UK: a prospective, national cohort study.

By Barbara N Arch, Dorottya Kovacs, Janet Scott, Ashley P Jones, Ewen M Harrison, Anna Rosala-Hallas, Carrol G Gamble, Peter Openshaw, J Kenneth Baillie, Malcolm G. Semple

Posted 21 Jun 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.06.18.21259072

Background Remdesivir was given UK early-access approval for use in COVID-19 in people aged 12 years and older on 26th May 2020 on the basis of unmet clinical need. Evidence on the side effects, complications of therapy and effectiveness of this therapy is lacking or conflicting. Methods Adults with severe COVID-19 treated with remdesivir were compared with propensity-score matched controls, identified from the ISARIC WHO Clinical Characterisation Protocol study of UK hospitalised patients with COVID-19. Remdesivir patients were matched to controls according to baseline underlying 14-day mortality risk. The effect of remdesivir on short-term outcomes was investigated (primary outcome: 14-day mortality). Effect sizes were estimated and adjusted for potential confounders using multivariable modelling. Results 1,549 patients given remdesivir and 4,964 matched controls were identified satisfying inclusion and exclusion criteria. The balance diagnostic threshold was achieved. Patients had symptoms for a median of 6 days prior to baseline; 62% were male, with mean (SD) age 63.1 (15.6) years, and 80% categorised as White ethnicity. Fourteen-day mortality was not statistically significantly associated with treatment (9.3% remdesivir vs. 11.9% controls, odds-ratio 0.80, [95% CI 0.60-1.07], p=0.116, adjusted for age, sex, number of key comorbidities, dexamethasone use, and diagnosis of viral pneumonia. Findings Treatment with remdesivir was not associated with a reduction in mortality in our primary endpoint at 14 days. Interpretation Remdesivir did not significantly improve mortality in this study. The findings are subject to the limitations of an observational study. Balance was achieved for measured baseline factors, but unmeasured confounders may account for observed treatment effect sizes. Funding Medical Research Council UK & National Institute of Health Research

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