Remdesivir, the only drug that WHO thought, might nave real efficacy in treating the coronavirus disease, as told by WHO assistant director-general Bruce Aylward in a February press brief in China. During the first round of the drug trial, its leaked partial results and soaring shares of Gilead Sciences Inc suggested that their drug was indeed effective, not until reason stepped in.
On Thursday, Stat News reported the leaked video discussion on Gilead's remdesivir trials. A doctor in the discussion said that most patients were in severe risk and most left only at six days showing the efficiency of the drug. However, the University of Chicago Medicine involved in the clinical trial said in a statement "drawing any conclusions at this point is premature and scientifically unsound." Note that the trial does not include patients known as the placebo group.
Scientifically, the trial data were only anecdotal, and the full trial results are not out, which means drawing final conclusions would be illogical.
Bloomberg reported that Gilead Sciences Inc has been a commercial hit, as shares have risen 12 percent in early trading. With limited info and proof of remdesivir's effectiveness in curing COVID-19 may not be reasonable for the huge stock move.
We see what we want to see
Believing merely anecdotal evidence brings back the anecdote "we see what we want to see." We saw hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug being a coronavirus miracle medicine. But further trials revealed its limitations and side effects. In this case, the New England Journal of Medicine reported a study, funded exclusively by Gilead that previous compassionate use of the medicine proved effective but anecdotal, showing clinical improvements in 36 out of 53 patients.
However, Brian Skorney –analyst from RW Baird & Co said to Bloomberg that the trials selected severely patients but left out those who required mechanical ventilation and patients with multi-organ failure or kidney/liver impairment. The selected ones are a group of patients "who probably had a better chance of recovery from the start, with or without remdesivir," he added
Thus for a full result, one should wait for the verdict from a placebo-controlled clinical trial being run by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Supposing all approvals, experts say that its uses are likely limited, including its long and complicated manufacturing process. It may become one part of fighting COVID-19 on the whole.