Remdesivir cuts need for medical ventilation by 50% in Covid patients: Canadian study
New research from a trial involving 52 Canadian hospitals indicates use of the antiviral Remdesivir could reduce the need for medical ventilation by nearly 50% in patients hospitalised with Covid-19, as against standard treatment.
The study, Canadian Treatments for Covid-19 (CATCO), is a Canadian Institutes of Health Research-funded sub-study of the global World Health Organization Solidarity trial examining the effects of various treatments and results were published on Wednesday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).
The random trial involving 52 Canadian hospitals, and with 1,282 patients, had researchers studying the effects of Remdesivir in hospitalised patients with Covid-19 between August 14, 2020, and April 1, 2021.
According to a release issued by CMAJ, the researchers found that among patients not receiving mechanical ventilation at the start of the study, the need for mechanical ventilation arose for 8% of those receiving Remdesivir compared with 15% of those receiving standard care. “In addition, patients treated with Remdesivir were able to come off oxygen and ventilators sooner than those receiving standard care,” the release said.
It quoted the study’s authors, led by University of British Columbia’s Dr Srinivas Murthy, as saying, “The benefit of treatment was most apparent for preventing the need for mechanical ventilation, suggesting probable added value for patients with less severe disease to avoid progression during hospital stay.”
“This may have important implications for patients and for health systems, particularly when ICU capacity, mechanical ventilation or oxygen is in limited supply,” they added.
The trials were led by researchers at University of British Columbia and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.
The research gains relevance as the number of persons infected with the Omicron variant of Covid-19 grows across the world, including in India and Canada. While infections from the variant are considered milder than those earlier, its rapid transmissibility has led to record number of cases being reported on a daily basis in Canada.
Last week, Canada also cleared the use of the antiviral pill Paxlovid, manufactured by Pfizer, which is aimed at reducing hospitalisation amid the surge in cases.