Anti-viral drug remdesivir effective against coronavirus, study finds

Anti-viral drug remdesivir effective against coronavirus, study finds
The US’ top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said preliminary evidence indicated remdesivir had a ‘clear-cut, significant and positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery.’ (AFP file photo)
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Updated 23 May 2020

Anti-viral drug remdesivir effective against coronavirus, study finds

Anti-viral drug remdesivir effective against coronavirus, study finds
  • The United States authorized the emergency use of remdesivir in hospitals on May 1
  • It was followed by Japan, while Europe is considering following suit

WASHINGTON: Anti-viral drug remdesivir cuts recovery times in coronavirus patients, according to the full results of a trial published Friday night, three weeks after America’s top infectious diseases expert said the study showed the medication has “clear-cut” benefits.
Complete results from the research, which was carried out by US government agency the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), were published by leading medical periodical the New England Journal of Medicine.
The United States authorized the emergency use of remdesivir in hospitals on May 1, followed by Japan, while Europe is considering following suit.
The study found that remdesivir, injected intravenously daily for 10 days, accelerated the recovery of hospitalized COVID-19 patients compared to a placebo in clinical tests on just over a thousand patients across 10 countries.
On April 29, NIAID director Anthony Fauci, who has become the US government’s trusted face on the coronavirus pandemic, said preliminary evidence indicated remdesivir had a “clear-cut, significant and positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery.”
The National Institutes of Health, of which the NIAID is a part, said Friday in a statement online that investigators found “remdesivir was most beneficial for hospitalized patients with severe disease who required supplemental oxygen.”
But the authors of the trial wrote that the drug did not prevent all deaths.
“Given high mortality despite the use of remdesivir, it is clear that treatment with an anti-viral drug alone is not likely to be sufficient,” they said.
About 7.1 percent of patients given remdesivir in the trial group died within 14 days — compared with 11.9 percent in the placebo group.
However, the result is just below the statistical reliability threshold, meaning it could be down to chance rather than the capability of the drug.


China completes lunar sample collection ahead of schedule

Updated 03 December 2020

China completes lunar sample collection ahead of schedule

China completes lunar sample collection ahead of schedule
  • China launched a robotic spacecraft on Nov. 24 to bring back rocks from the moon

BEIJING: China’s Chang’e-5 lunar vehicle has finished collecting samples of lunar rocks and soil more than a day ahead of schedule in the first lunar sample retrieval mission since the 1970s, the country’s space agency said on Thursday.
The robotic vehicle has stored the samples and will now dock with the orbiting Chang’e-5 for the return journey to Earth.
China launched a robotic spacecraft on Nov. 24 to bring back rocks from the moon in the first bid by any country to retrieve samples since 1976.
Late on Tuesday, the Chang’e-5 spacecraft successfully deployed a pair of landing and ascending vehicles onto the moon’s surface. The plan was to collect 2 kg (4.4 pounds) of samples.
The sample collection was completed after 19 hours, the space agency said in its statement, without disclosing the total weight of the samples collected.
China had planned to collect the samples over a period of about two days, with the entire mission taking around 23 days.
The ascending vehicle would lift off from the lunar surface with the samples, and dock with a module currently orbiting around the moon.
The samples would then be transferred to a return capsule onboard the orbiting module for delivery back to Earth.
If successful, the mission will make China only the third country to have retrieved lunar samples after the United States and the Soviet Union.
China made its first lunar landing in 2013.
In January 2019, the Chang’e-4 probe landed on the far side of the moon, the first space probe from any nation to do so.