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Remdesivir is Effective for Moderately Severe Patients: A Re-Analysis of the First Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Randomized Trial on Remdesivir for Treatment of Severe COVID-19 Patients Conducted in Wuhan City

Authors Shih WJ, Shen X, Zhang P, Xie T

Received 16 May 2020

Accepted for publication 16 July 2020

Published 30 July 2020 Volume 2020:12 Pages 15—21


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Arthur Frankel

Weichung J Shih,1 Xin Shen,2 Peng Zhang,2 Tai Xie2

1Rutgers University School of Public Health, Piscataway, NJ 08854, USA; 2CIMS Global, Somerset, NJ 08873, USA

Correspondence: Weichung J Shih Email [email protected]

Introduction: The first clinical trial on remdesivir for treatment of severe COVID-19 conducted in China was terminated prematurely due to limited patient enrollment, which rendered the findings inconclusive. We re-analyzed the efficacy with a statistically more powerful and clinically meaningful method based on published data using the 6-point ordinal scale of patient’s disease severity.
Methods: We defined response as patient’s point reached, either 2 (hospitalized, no requirement for supplementary oxygen therapy) or 1 (discharged or met discharge criterion), and then analyzed with logistic regression with baseline score, day of assessment, treatment group, baseline by treatment interaction, and day by treatment interaction as covariates. The binary endpoint was supported by the recent FDA’s guidance on COVID-19.
Results: Eighty-two percent (82%) of the patients were in the disease severity point=3 (hospitalized, required supplemental oxygen (but not NIV/HFNC)) – the moderately severe category. The response rate was 85% for remdesivir-treated patients with baseline disease point=3 versus 70% response rate for likewise placebo-treated patients on Day 28 (OR=2.38, P=0.0012). On Day 14, the response rate for these patients was 43% for remdesivir versus 33% for placebo (OR=1.53, P=0.0022). For patients with baseline disease point=4 (critically severe category), no similar comparisons were statistically significant.
Conclusion and Discussion: The Chinese trial was not really under-powered as previously perceived or portrayed by many opinions. This result supports the preliminary findings of ACTT that remdesivir is effective for patients who were not critically severe. This result also suggests that remdesivir should be given to hospitalized COVID-19 patients as soon as possible. There is no race difference in the treatment effect.

Keywords: COVID-19, novel coronavirus, remdesivir

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