The Strange Story Of Remdesivir, A Covid Drug That Doesn’t Work

Remdesivir in a syringe.

While clinical trials suggest remdesivir isn’t very effective in treating Covid-19, recent studies have shown that it does block Coronavirus activity. That apparent contradiction makes the antiviral drug even more controversial.

Remdesivir is an experimental drug developed by biotech company Gilead Sciences (under the brand name Veklury) in collaboration with the US Centers for Disease Control and Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.

It’s one of many drug candidates that were originally designed in response to the threat from emerging diseases caused by RNA viruses — germs like the one behind the 2002 SARS outbreak — that have potential to cause global pandemics.

Such ‘broad-spectrum’ drugs target features shared by a wide range of disease-causing germs. In remdesivir’s case, that’s the virus’ genetic material, RNA. The drug proved ineffective against the Ebola virus, however, yet was still subsequently repurposed for SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

Remdesivir is not effective for Covid

News media prematurely reported that patients were responding to treatment. But the published data lated showed that “remdesivir was not associated with statistically significant clinical benefits [and] the numerical reduction in time to clinical improvement in those treated earlier requires confirmation in larger studies.”

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As our special series On the Front Lines continues, NBC’s Joe Fryer profiles one of the country’s first COVID-19 patients, Raymond Sismaet, who spent nearly a month in a hospital before recovering. His story spotlights the antiviral drug remdesivir as a possible coronavirus treatment. » Subscribe to TODAY: http://on.today.com/SubscribeToTODAY » Watch the latest from TODAY: http://bit.ly/LatestTODAY About: TODAY brings you the latest headlines and expert tips on money, health and parenting. We wake up every morning to give you and your family all you need to start your day.
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The controversy surrounding remdesivir therefore revolves around whether the drug is actually an effective treatment. Early studies produced conflicting evidence on remdesivir’s effectiveness. Some found that Covid patients who received the drug recovered faster and fewer people died, but other studies showed that it didn’t reduce the length of hospitalization or death rate.

What’s weird about remdesivir is that it hasn’t been held to the same standards as other drug candidates. Covid-19 vaccines have been developed 10 times faster than traditional drugs, but they’ve passed the phase-3 clinical trials that test whether a potential medicine is both safe and effective in thousands of people.

Normally, a drug is only approved for use by a regulatory body like the US Food and Drug Administration if it meets the two criteria for safety and efficacy. Nonetheless, in October 2020, remdesivir was granted approval by FDA based on promising data from relatively small trials with about 1000 participants.

A large-scale analysis by the World Health Organization’s Solidarity trial consortium has cleared-up the confusion. Based on interim results from studying more than 5000 participants, the international study concluded that remdesivir “had little or no effect on hospitalized patients with Covid-19, as indicated by overall mortality, initiation of ventilation, and duration of hospital stay.”

As a consequence of being mostly ineffective, WHO recommends against the use of remdesivir in Covid-19 patients.

Remdesivir is an expensive drug

The drug is administered over 5 or 10 days. A five-day course of treatment costs around $2600 per person. So for a hospital with hundreds of Covid patients, that would amount to millions of dollars for one antiviral.

That price could be cost-effective if remdesivir saved lives and its use was limited to moderate or severe disease, but it’s also being made available for milder cases and WHO found that it isn’t a lifesaving drug.

What next for remdesivir? Following WHO’s finding, an article in the British Medical Journal highlighted another antiviral as a cautionary tale: oseltamivir or ‘Tamiflu’ — a drug that aims to block the influenza virus.

During the early 2000s, governments started stockpiling Tamiflu, paying billions to its manufacturer, pharmaceutical firm Roche. Then in 2013, independent researchers gained access to Roche’s unpublished data, revealing that the drug caused many side effects and only shortened the duration of flu symptoms by a few hours.

Tamiflu only cost $75 per treatment and yet was still a massive waste of money. The BMJ article implies that the story of remdesivir is another scandal waiting to happen.

Given that remdesivir is expensive and doesn’t seem to save lives, does it have any value? Maybe — but not as a medicine itself. Recent research suggests scientists should at least keep studying how it works in order to develop better drugs.

Remdesivir does block Coronavirus

Remdesivir doesn’t prevent people from being infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Whereas a vaccine is designed prompt your immune system to recognize the spike protein that allows Coronavirus to invade cells — and protect people from infection — antivirals such as remdesivir aim to disrupt the virus’ ability to replicate, to slow its spread and give your body extra time to develop immunity.

Coronaviruses use RNA for their genetic material — not the DNA used by cells — which means that they need a special molecular machine to copy their genes when producing new virus particles. That machine, ‘RNA polymerase’, is what’s targeted by remdesivir.

Two studies have now revealed how remdesivir blocks SARS-CoV-2 at the molecular level.

First, chemical engineers at the University of Chicago found that remdesivir is better at reducing virus replication than two similar antivirals, ribavirin and favilavir. Their computer models suggest that remdesivir beats the other drugs because it’s the best at binding and destabilizing the RNA polymerase.

In the second new study, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin used ‘cryogenic-electron microscopy’ (cryo-EM) to take snapshots of the structure of the molecules involved in replication as they would interact in a Covid patient.

After adding remdesivir to RNA polymerase, cryo-EM images showed that the drug acts like a blockage in a photocopier, getting stuck in the RNA polymerase. When four molecules of remdesivir get between the gears of the polymerase machine, its copies of RNA ‘paper’ can no longer pass through, stalling the virus-copying process.

That leads us to why it’s worth studying remdesivir. As structural biologist David Taylor explains, “We were able to identify the point where that paper jam happens […] If we want to make the blockage even worse, we could do so.”

One of remdesivir’s flaws is its (possibly toxic) high dosage over a short timeframe, which contributes to adverse side effects. By tweaking the drug molecule’s structure, scientists may be able to make it block the RNA polymerase machine with fewer molecules, which would then allow the drug to be delivered in a smaller dose.

In fact, Gilead Sciences has already isolated a compound similar to remdesivir, GS-441524, which costs less and is easier to manufacture. It’s also simpler to administer: while remdesivir must be injected, GS-441524 could be ingested in pill form. More of the molecule reaches the lungs — the main site of infection — too, which led researchers to state that “GS-441524 is superior to remdesivir for Covid-19 treatment.”

As SARS-CoV-2’s genetic material mutates to create new strains of the virus — and variants of Covid-19 — we may need antivirals to buy us time if those new strains end-up evading our current vaccines.

So despite being expensive and ineffective at treating Covid, remdesivir’s true value could be to help researchers create more effective medicines.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

I’m a science communicator specialising in public engagement and outreach through entertainment, focusing on popular culture. I have a PhD in evolutionary biology and spent several years at BBC Science Focus magazine, running the features section and writing about everything from gay genes and internet memes to the science of death and origin of life. I’ve also contributed to Scientific American and Men’s Health. My latest book is ’50 Biology Ideas You Really Need to Know’

Source: The Strange Story Of Remdesivir, A Covid Drug That Doesn’t Work

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“Export of injection Remdesivir and Remdesivir Energetic Pharmaceutical Components (API) prohibited until the COVID-19 state of affairs within the […]
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As coronavirus cases spike, Indore’s health infrastructure gets stretched | Business Standard News
[…] uploading videos and messages on social media about shortage of beds and key medicines like Remdesivir […] He said Remdesivir consignments were coming in at present and their distribution was taking place as per guidelines […] “Doctors have been told to give Remdesivir injections only to those who absolutely need it,” Satya said […]
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India bans exports of anti-viral drug Remdesivir as COVID-19 cases surge
India on Sunday banned the export of anti-viral drug Remdesivir and its active pharmaceutical ingredients as demand rocketed due to a record surge in COVID-1 […] sixth record rise in seven days, harried relatives of patients made a kilometre-long queue to buy Remdesivir outside a big hospital in the western state of Gujarat, witnesses said […] In addition to the Remdesivir ban “till the situation improves,” the health ministry said that manufacturers had been asked t […] The World Health Organization in November issued a conditional recommendation against the use of Remdesivir in hospitalized patients, saying there was no evidence that the drug improved survival and othe […]
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Covid-19: India bans export of Remdesivir injection, API
India today prohibited the export of Remdesivir injection, which is used to treat Covid patients, and also Remdesivir Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API), amidst a surge in coronavirus cases in the country […] “This has led to a sudden spike in the demand for injection Remdesivir used in treatment of Covid patients […] Seven Indian companies are producing the Remdesivir injection under voluntary licensing agreement with M/S Gilead Sciences of the USA […]
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Maharashtra likely to announce 15-day lockdown after weekend curbs, marginal drop in Covid-19 cases after night curfew
[…] Other suggestions by Fadnavis like the early report of tests, availability of Remdesivir and oxygen for treatment will also be considered […]
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“For God’s Sake, Get Vaccine, Drugs”: Top Mumbai Doctor’s Desperate Appeal
[…] The hospital was not only short of vaccines but also life-saving drugs like Remdesivir, said Dr Jalil Parkar, a pulmonary consultant with the hospital […] There is a shortage of Remdesivir, there is shortage of Tosilizubam […] “My earnest request for god’s sake please see to it that Remdesivir, Tosilizubam, vaccination — they are available […]
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COVID-19: Centre bans exports of anti-viral drug Remdesivir till situation in India improves
COVID-19: Centre bans exports of anti-viral drug Remdesivir till situation in India improves India’s sudden spike in COVID-19 cases has led to an increase i […] Zee Media Updated: Apr 11, 2021, 06:29 PM IST The Centre on Sunday prohibited exports of injection Remdesivir and Remdesivir Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) till the Covid-19 situation in the country improves […] data on deaths In light of the above, Government of India has prohibited the exports of Injection Remdesivir and Remdesivir Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) till the situation improves,” the statement said […]
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8k Remdesivir vials have arrived: Madhya Pradesh official as cases surge
[…] (Representational image: IE) Amid a surge in coronavirus cases and a clamour for Remdesivir, a drug considered useful in the treatment of the infection, a senior Madhya Pradesh official o […]
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India bans Remdesivir exports till COVID surge abates
Seven Indian companies producing Remdesivir injections under voluntary licensing agreement with US-based Gilead Sciences have an installed capacity of about 38.80 lakh units per month
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Government Halts Export Of Remdesivir Till COVID-19 Situation Improves
[…] The Government of India said: “Export of injection Remdesivir and Remdesivir Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) prohibited till the COVID-19 situation in the countr […] of Pharmaceuticals has been in contact with the domestic manufacturers to ramp up the production of Remdesivir in India. Notably, there are seven Indian companies that are currently producing injection Remdesivir under voluntary licensing agreement with M/s Gilead Sciences, USA […]
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Export of anti-viral drug remdesivir prohibited in view of increased demand due to surge in COVID-19 cases: Centre. | Newsalert
Export of anti-viral drug remdesivir prohibited in view of increased demand due to surge in COVID-19 cases: Centre. PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 11-04-2021 18:11 IST | Created: 11-04-2021 18:11 IST Export of anti-viral drug remdesivir prohibited in view of increased demand due to surge in COVID-19 cases: Centre. (This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.) POST / READ COMMENTS Country India Share
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[…] Hospital; Margaret Lippincott, MD, Instructor in Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital · Remdesivir in COVID 19 – John Beigel, MD, Associate Director for Clinical Research, National Institute o […]
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Centre bans export of Remdesivir amid crunch, eases access of Covid patients to anti-viral drug – Coronavirus Outbreak News
[…] being used in the treatment of Covid-19 patients, the Centre has prohibited the export of Injection Remdesivir and Remdesivir Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) […] In a press note on Sunday, the Centre prohibited exports of Injection Remdesivir and Remdesivir Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API). A number of companies in India produce Injection Remdesivir under a voluntary licensing agreement with US pharma giant Gilead Sciences […]
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For God’s Sake, Get Vaccine, Drugs: Top Mumbai Doctor’s Desperate Appeal
[…] The hospital was not only short of vaccines but also life-saving drugs like Remdesivir, said Dr Jalil Parkar, a pulmonary consultant with the hospital […] There is a shortage of Remdesivir, there is shortage of Tosilizubam […] “My earnest request for god’s sake please see to it that Remdesivir, Tosilizubam, vaccination — they are available […]
16
Government bans export of Remdesivir till Covid-19 situation improves
economictimes.indiatimes.com – Today
[…] In an order, the government said it has banned export of Remdesivir injection and Remdesivir active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) till the pandemic situation in the country stabilises […] the government has also taken a few steps to ensure easy access of hospital and patients to Remdesivir. These steps are: – All domestic manufactures of Remdesivir have been advised to display on their website, details of their stockists/distributors t […]
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COVID-19: India bans export of Remdesivir drug, injection as coronavirus cases surge | India News
zeenews.india.com – Today
CORONAVIRUS COVID-19: India bans export of Remdesivir drug, injection as coronavirus cases surge The Centre banned the export of Remdesivir and its active pharmaceutical ingredients as the demand for anti-viral drug Remdesivir has surged […] As India experiences a second wave of novel coronavirus infections, the demand for anti-viral drug Remdesivir has surged too. The Centre on Sunday (April 11, 2021) banned the export of Remdesivir and its active pharmaceutical ingredients […]
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India bans export of Remdesivir, its ingredients till COVID situation improves | Coronavirus News | Inshorts
inshorts.com – Today
india has banned the export of injection remdesivir and its active pharmaceutical ingredients api till the coronavirus situation in the country improves the centre said on sunday theres potential for further increase in demand for remdesivir in the coming days the government said adding that the …
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Centre Bans Export of Remdesivir and Its Active Ingredients till Covid Crisis Eases in India
The Centre on Sunday prohibited the export of Remdesivir injection and its active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) till the pandemic situation arising ou […] The decision has been taken to ensure easy access of Remdesivir to infected patients and hospitals providing treating against the virus […] Several hospitals have complained of shortage of Remdesivir, considered a key anti-viral drug in the fight against COVID-19, especially in adult patients wit […] other steps to bring the situation under control, including advising all domestic manufactures of Remdesivir to display on their website, details of their stockists and distributors to facilitate access t […]
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India bans export of Remdesivir injection amid surge in Covid cases | India News – Times of India
NEW DELHI: India on Sunday banned the export of Remdesivir injection till the Covid-19 situation improves in the country […] The government in a statement said that all domestic manufactures of Remdesivir have been advised to display on their website, details of their stockists/distributors t […] of Pharmaceuticals has been in contact with the domestic manufacturers to ramp up the production of Remdesivir […] The alarming spike in Covid cases in the country has led to a sudden increase in demand for the Remdesivir injection used in treating Covid patients […]
0
India bans exports of anti-viral drug Remdesivir as COVID-19 cases surge
NEW DELHI: India said on Sunday it had banned the export of anti-viral drug Remdesivir and its active pharmaceutical ingredients after a record spike in COVID-19 cases sent deman […] “In light of the above, Government of India has prohibited the exports of Injection Remdesivir and Remdesivir Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) till the situation improves,” the health ministry said in a […]
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India bans exports of anti-viral drug Remdesivir as COVID-19 cases surge | Reuters
[…] 1 MIN READ NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India said on Sunday it had banned the export of anti-viral drug Remdesivir and its active pharmaceutical ingredients after a record spike in COVID-19 cases sent deman […] “In light of the above, Government of India has prohibited the exports of Injection Remdesivir and Remdesivir Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) till the situation improves,” the health ministry said in a […]
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India bans export of Remdesivir injection amid surge in Covid cases | India News – Times of India
timesofindia.indiatimes.com – Today
India News: NEW DELHI: India on Sunday banned the export of Remdesivir injection till the Covid-19 situation improves in the country.
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No lockdown in Madhya Pradesh, only ‘corona curfew’, says CM | Business Standard News
[…] We have received 4,000 injections of Remdesivir (the key anti-viral drug) and would be getting 5,000 more today […]
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Coronavirus: Centre bans export of antiviral drug Remdesivir amid surge in cases
scroll.in – Today
The Centre on Sunday banned the export of antiviral drug Remdesivir indefinitely, in view of the rising coronavirus cases in the country, ANI reported […] The government said the ban, which covers Remdesivir injections and Remdesivir active pharmaceutical ingredients, will be lifted only after there is an improvement in th […] Remdesivir is considered a key drug in combating Covid-19, especially in adult patients with sever […]
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Gilead Sciences : India bans exports of anti-viral drug Remdesivir as COVID-19 cases surge | MarketScreener
“In light of the above, Government of India has prohibited the exports of Injection Remdesivir and Remdesivir Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) till the situation improves,” the health ministry said in a statement. Seven Indian companies have licensed the drug from Gilead Sciences, with an installed capacity of about 3.9 million units per month. (Reporting by Krishna N. Das and Devjyot Ghoshal; Editing by Susan Fenton)
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Centre Prohibits Export of Remdesivir till COVID-19 Situation in Country Improves
Centre Prohibits Export of Remdesivir till COVID-19 Situation in Country Improves…
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India bans exports of anti-viral drug Remdesivir as COVID-19 cases surge
mumbaimirror.indiatimes.com – Today
India bans exports of anti-viral drug Remdesivir as COVID-19 cases surge Reuters / Updated: Apr 11, 2021, 17:50 IST Representational Image […] Photo: BCCL New Delhi: India said on Sunday it had banned the export of anti-viral drug Remdesivir and its active pharmaceutical ingredients after a record spike in COVID-19 cases sent deman […] “In light of the above, Government of India has prohibited the exports of Injection Remdesivir and Remdesivir Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) till the situation improves,” the health ministry said in a […]
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Centre prohibits export of Remdesivir & its API till COVID-19 situation improves in India
With several states complaining of shortage of Remdesivir injections – which is used in COVID-19 treatment, the Centre on Sunday, has banned the export of Remdesivir and Remdesivir Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) till the COVID-19 situation in the country improves […] READ | Remdesivir shortage in Nagpur; Union Minister Nitin Gadkari dials Sun Pharma chief Govt bans export of Remdesivir Additionally, Centre has taken the following steps to streamline Remdesivir supply: All domestic manufactures of Remdesivir have been advised to display on their website […]
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Govt suspends export of Remdesivir till coronavirus situation improves | Business Standard News
The union government on Sunday suspended the export of Remdesivir injections and Remdesivir Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) till the coronavirus situation improves in the country […] “The current situation has led to a sudden spike in demand for Remdesivir injection used in treatment of Covid patients […] In addition, the government has taken the steps to ensure easy access of hospital and patients to Remdesivir All domestic manufactures of Remdesivir have been advised to display on their website, details of their stock lists or distributors t […]
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India bans export of Remdesivir drug, injection till Covid situation improves
“Export of injection Remdesivir and Remdesivir Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) prohibited till the COVID-19 situation in the countr […] This has led to a sudden spike in demand for Injection Remdesivir used in treatment of COVID patients. There is a potential of a further increase in demand for Remdesivir injection in the coming days,” the Centre said in a statement […] of Pharmaceuticals has been in contact with domestic manufacturers to ramp up the production of Remdesivir, it further stated. In its fresh order, it said that all domestic manufactures of Remdesivir advised to display on their website, details of their stockists/distributors to facilitate acces […]
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[…] In an order, the government said it has banned export of Remdesivir injection and Remdesivir active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) till the pandemic situation in the country stabilises […] To ensure more people can get Remdesivir, the government said manufactures of Remdesivir have been asked to show on their website the details of their stockists and distributors […] of Pharmaceuticals has been in contact with the domestic manufacturers to ramp up the production of Remdesivir,” the government said. The National Clinical Management Protocol for COVID-19 lists Remdesivir as an investigational therapy, where informed and shared decision making is essential […]
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Remdesivir injections and Favipiravir tablets vanish from UP’s Prayagraj medicine shops | Allahabad News
dlsnewsindia.com – Today
PRAYAGRAJ: The Remdesivir injection and Favipiravir tablets seem to have vanished from the city-based medicine market wit […] at Leader road dealing wholesale medicine market claimed that there was an acute shortage of Remdesivir injection and Favipiravir tablets […] UP Chemist & Druggist Federation admitted to TOI that there has been an acute shortage of Remdesivir injection and Favipiravir tablets in markets and we have been demanding from concerne […] “ I have made calls to my relatives to arrange Remdesivir injection after seeing its acute crisis in city” said Ashutosh who arrived Leader road medicin […]
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[…] India has banned the export of anti-viral drug remdesivir and its active pharmaceutical ingredients following a rise in coronavirus cases, a statement fro […] The ban would apply to Injection Remdesivir and Remdesivir Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) until the Covid-19 situation in the country improves, th […] ministry said, adding that this rise has led to a sudden spike in demand for the anti-viral drug remdesivir and its active pharmaceutical ingredients used in the treatment of coronavirus patients […]
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Why Doctors Feel Happy To Get Symptoms From The Covid-19 Vaccine

Doctors have been worried about this for a long time, and now it’s starting to happen. As the Covid-19 vaccine has started to become available beyond health care workers, people are starting to refuse to take their shot. If people won’t take the vaccine that could end the coronavirus pandemic, what comes next?

One of the most common reasons people develop fears of vaccines has to do with a common misunderstanding about side effects. But what most of the public doesn’t know is that doctors who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 were delighted when the vaccine gave them symptoms.

When doctors got sore arms, fatigue, muscle aches or fevers after their Covid-19 vaccine, they celebrated. That’s because those symptoms are not dangerous ‘reactions,’ but positive signs that the immune system is responding to the vaccine. Feeling lucky after the Covid-19 vaccine means it’s working.

As a pediatrician, educating parents about normal responses to vaccines is one of the first things I do. And that’s because there’s so much misinformation about vaccines. Take the dreaded fever for instance: the belief that fever is dangerous has been passed down from generation to generation. It’s not. We were told we need to bring our fevers down or something bad will happen. We don’t, and it won’t.

It’s not the fever that is dangerous, it’s that certain diseases that cause fever are (and most of those disease are now vaccine preventable). Or as Bruce Y Lee writes, “There’s a difference between feeling sick and being sick.”

The thing about fever is that it’s not actually caused by the viruses or infections that invade your body. Fever is something your body does for itself. Fevers are part of a beneficial response our immune system creates to boost our metabolism’s and the effectiveness of our white blood cells and fight off infections.

So when we get a fever after a vaccine, it means our immune system is doing exactly what we want it to do. We want the immune system to take notice and mount a response. For some that might mean a fever, but for almost everyone it means a sore arm or swelling around the site of the vaccination. And that’s all the immune system noticing the vaccine and mounting a response. Without the immune doing this work, we won’t get our memory B cells to store a pattern for defense against Covid-19.

When I got my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine against Covid-19, I experienced a sore swollen arm, on and off muscle aches, nausea and fatigue. These symptoms lasted about three days. But they weren’t nearly as bad as the various illnesses I’ve gotten from my adorable little pediatric patients over the years. I took naps during those days after the vaccine, but I was also well enough to take my rambunctious puppy to the dog park in the snow.

Most of my colleagues had sore arms for about a day after their vaccines. A couple of them had symptoms similar to mine and one of them even had a fever. But not one of these doctors was alarmed, instead we texted each other our happiness that we were getting to experience evidence that our vaccines were working.

Another example of how doctors think about side effects after the Covid-19 vaccine goes like this. The way Covid-19 is killing people has to do with an extreme immune system response. That heightened response or cytokine storm only happens to some people. While there is certainly no research evidence for this, doctors figure that those of us who had more symptoms after the vaccine might’ve just dodged a bullet. Maybe we were in the group that would’ve gotten sicker than others if we’ve gotten real Covid-19.

So the key thing we want the public to know is that doctors are not worried about the vaccine for Covid-19. We are worried that you won’t take it and that the pandemic will drag on. Doctors didn’t throw away our shot. We hope you won’t throw away yours.

Full coverage and live updates on the Coronavirus

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

How can we be successful without breaking ourselves? We can take effective action under pressure.

I teach people how to use their own biology to do their best work. After years of study, I created a 3-step method rooted in neuroscience and psychology, and I spoke about it at TEDx. Then I went wider, and explored what happens when we break down silos between scientific disciplines. It’s amazing what you learn when you get sociology talking to neuroscience, or child development talking to business research.

I am a board-certified pediatrician and an Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics at Rush University. I have an AB in History from Princeton University, i.e. Ideological and Cultural History. My M.D. came from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at Rutgers University. My pediatrics residencies were at Duke University and the University of Chicago. I am a former Clinical Instructor in Pediatrics at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine.

I live in Illinois with my husband, two rambunctious sons, and a variety of hamsters.

Source: Why Doctors Feel Happy To Get Symptoms From The Covid-19 Vaccine

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Final Results In Remdesivir Trial Confirm It Shortens Length Of Covid-19 Cases, But Has Small Impact On Death

Topline

A long-awaited study of Gilead Sciences’ experimental antiviral remdesivir published Thursday in the New England Journal Of Medicine shows that patients with Covid-19 who took the drug recovered from the disease faster compared to patients who took a placebo.

Key Facts

The trial, which was led by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), was double-blinded and involved more than 1,000 Covid-19 patients from around the world.

The trial  found that hospitalized patients who took remdesivir recovered from the disease in 10 days on average, five days faster than those taking a placebo.

The greatest benefit occurred when remdesivir was given to patients early in their illness who were hospitalized and receiving supplemental  oxygen but not yet on a ventilator.

The researchers also say that the data suggests that remdesivir may prevent patients from getting more severely ill and needing more oxygen or ventilation.

While the study itself didn’t find a statistically significant reduction in death for patients taking remdesivir, a later analysis suggested a small benefit, finding that 11.4% of patients who took remdesivir died by day 29, compared to 15.2% of patients that took the placebo.

Key Background

While there is no drug approved yet to treat Covid-19, remdesivir has been a frontrunner for months. In May, after preliminary study results showed that it helped patients recover from Covid-19 four days faster than a placebo, the FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization for remdesivir (brand name Veklury) to be used in hospitalized patients with severe Covid-19. In August the agency expanded the recommendation and said that remdesivir could be used for any patients hospitalized with Covid-19, no matter the severity of their symptoms. Last week, President Trump’s doctors announced that the president received infusions of remdesivir after his diagnosis of Covid-19. There is currently a global shortage of the drug, and Gilead has announced plans to manufacture 2 million treatment courses of the drug by December. 

Quote

“For patients who are hospitalized with Covid-19, the importance of speeding up recovery by five to seven days cannot be underestimated,” wrote Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day in an open letter published Thursday. “This represents a significant benefit in a disease where every day counts.”

Chief Critic

Overall, the final report does not change the preliminary conclusions,” wrote Joshua Niforatos, an emergency room physician at Johns Hopkins Hospital. “Based on the research to-date, for critically ill covid-19 patients, remdesivir is unlikely to change survival or the need for mechanical ventilation. The only drug to-date that has shown to improve mortality remains dexamethasone, a generic and inexpensive drug.”

What’s Next

Gilead will likely use the results of this study to apply for official FDA approval of remdesivir, which has never been approved by the agency before. If the FDA accepts the company’s application, it would be the first approval of a drug specifically to treat Covid-19.

Full coverage and live updates on the Coronavirus / Follow me on Twitter. Send me a secure tip

Leah Rosenbaum

Leah Rosenbaum

I am the assistant editor of healthcare and science at Forbes. I graduated from UC Berkeley with a Master’s of Journalism and a Master’s of Public Health, with a specialty in infectious disease. Before that, I was at Johns Hopkins University where I double-majored in writing and public health. I’ve written articles for STAT, Vice, Science News, HealthNewsReview and other publications. At Forbes, I cover all aspects of health, from disease outbreaks to biotech startups.

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We regret that the WHO prematurely posted information regarding the study, which has since been removed. The investigators in this study did not provide permission for publication of results,” a Gilead spokesperson said in a statement to CNBC. “Furthermore, we believe the post included inappropriate characterizations of the study. Importantly, because this study was terminated early due to low enrollment, it was underpowered to enable statistically meaningful conclusions,” according to Gilead. “As such, the study results are inconclusive, though trends in the data suggest a potential benefit for remdesivir, particularly among patients treated early in disease.” For more coronavirus live updates: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/23/coron… For access to live and exclusive video from CNBC subscribe to CNBC PRO: https://cnb.cx/2JdMwO7 » Subscribe to CNBC TV: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBCtelevision » Subscribe to CNBC: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBC » Subscribe to CNBC Classic: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBCclassic Turn to CNBC TV for the latest stock market news and analysis. From market futures to live price updates CNBC is the leader in business news worldwide. Connect with CNBC News Online Get the latest news: http://www.cnbc.com/ Follow CNBC on LinkedIn: https://cnb.cx/LinkedInCNBC Follow CNBC News on Facebook: https://cnb.cx/LikeCNBC Follow CNBC News on Twitter: https://cnb.cx/FollowCNBC Follow CNBC News on Instagram: https://cnb.cx/InstagramCNBC

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