Study by Providence researchers on Remdesivir reinforces need to define optimal treatment of COVID-19

From an early retrospective cohort of hospitalized COVID-19 patients, Remdesivir use is associated with lower mortality compared to best supportive care

RENTON, Wash., August 19, 2021 – Providence, one of the largest health systems in the nation, published findings today, that demonstrate treatment with Remdesivir (RDV) was associated with lower mortality compared to best supportive care. The research published in the Clinical Infectious Diseases journal, suggested Remdesivir reduces mortality by 40% in COVID patients who receive treatment while on low flow oxygen. 

“These findings are significant because they highlight the urgent need to define optimal treatment of COVID-19. It shows that Remdesivir was associated with lower mortality compared to best supportive care for certain patients. I hope this new data encourages physicians to use Remdesivir according to IDSA treatment guidelines which recommends its use,” said the study’s lead author George Diaz, MD, Medical Director, Antimicrobial Stewardship and Infection Prevention at Providence.

Researchers compared 286 persons receiving RDV to 852 persons receiving best supportive care, 400 of whom received hydroxychloroquine, in patients hospitalized between Feb. 28, 2020 and May 28, 2020. Providence conducted the study in the time period when Remdesivir was not the standard-of-care, prior to implementation of the FDA emergency use authorization (EUA), thus clinical equipoise existed at the point of prescribing. The mortality rate was reduced by 40% in those treated with Remdesivir compared to best supportive care. Physiologically, the intervention seems effective during the virological phase, and before significant hyperinflammation develops, as described for the dynamic and bimodal COVID-19 disease process.

The pandemic of COVID-19 due to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) continues to severely affect communities around the world and optimal treatments are undefined. A study sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) suggested no mortality benefit of RDV compared to placebo.  In that study, the level of oxygen support was not described in granular detail, potentially masking a mortality benefit when used earlier in the disease course. The National Institute of Health sponsored ACTT-1 study identified a possible mortality benefit in patients requiring low flow oxygen. FDA has approved RDV based on improved time to recovery, but whether mortality is improved remains an open question and affects whether the drug is used in the US and abroad.

With this information, physicians can be better informed when monitoring and treating patients with COVID-19.

About Providence 
Providence is a national, not-for-profit Catholic health system comprising a diverse family of organizations and driven by a belief that health is a human right. With 52 hospitals, over 1,000 physician clinics, senior services, supportive housing, and many other health and educational services, the health system and its partners employ more than 120,000 caregivers serving communities across seven states – Alaska, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, and Washington, with system offices in Renton, Wash., and Irvine, Calif. Learn about our vision of health for a better world at Providence.org

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