The virus inhibitor, remdesivir, also known as the “corona drug” will continue to be used to treat Dutch coronavirus patients. However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued advice against the practice.
The WHO’s advice has been issued for a week now. However a Dutch foundation that specialises in the use of antibiotics in the Netherlands (SWAB) and the Federation of Medical Specialists (FMS) see no reason as to why WHO’s statement should change the way remdesivir is currently used in the Netherlands.
SWAB and the FMS have referred to WHO’s advice as a “weak, conditional recommendation” that adopts “a global perspective, taking into account, among other things, proportional representation from different types of countries.”
Use on patients
Remdesivir is only used on coronavirus patients in nursing wards who suffer from breathing difficulties. According to SWAB and FMS, the drug is not life-saving, nor does it prevent a patient’s health from deteriorating to the point that they end up in ICU.
However, they do say that “a significantly faster recovery has been observed” in patients who are administered with the drug. However, according to WHO, the drug has “no significant effect” on patients.
In the British Medical Journal published last Friday, the World Health Organisation advised that “remdesivir not be administered in addition to normal care for the treatment of patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19, regardless of the severity of the disease.”
However, SWAB and the FMS have found no justification for this in WHO’s data and have instead found a different conclusion.
SWAB and FMS’s conclusion
The two expert groups have determined that “whether and how much the hospital stay and recovery period in the current Dutch situation can still be relevantly shortened by administering remdesivir, and whether that is cost-effective, is still unknown.”
However, they also conclude that the data on which the WHO bases its recommendation does not align with the advice to discontinue use.
“As long as this insight is lacking, the FMS-SWAB group does not recommend against the use of remdesivir in the above patient group, but considers it an option.”
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