Remdesivir, Camostat Fail to Deliver in COVID-19 RCTs

By Reuters Staff

April 06, 2022

(Reuters) - Two drugs that looked like promising treatments for COVID-19 in preliminary studies - remdesivir for hospitalized patients and camostat for patients who are not seriously ill - failed to show a benefit in those groups in randomized controlled trials, researchers reported in two separate papers.

In five European countries, researchers studied 843 COVID-19 patients who were hospitalized between March 2020 and January 2021 with hypoxemia and who needed supplemental oxygen or mechanical ventilation.

Patients received either Gilead Sciences' antiviral remdesivir - sold as Veklury - for up to 10 days, plus standard of care, or standard of care alone. At 15 days, there was no difference between the groups in signs of improvement, investigators reported.

In Japan between November 2020 and March 2021, researchers randomly assigned 155 patients with mild or moderate COVID-19 to receive the pancreatitis drug camostat mesylate from Ono Pharmaceutical Co or a placebo for up to 14 days. Camostat blocks an enzyme that helps some versions of the coronavirus infect cells - including the variants circulating at the time of the study - but did not help patients get rid of the virus in their airways any faster than placebo, the Japanese researchers reported.

They said the results "highlight... the necessity of conducting well-designed studies to confirm whether preclinical findings translate into meaningful clinical efficacy."

Both studies were posted on medRxiv ahead of peer review.

SOURCE: https://bit.ly/37i83V6 and https://bit.ly/3u9pdgI, online March 31 and April 2, 2022.

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