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Cedars-Sinai Sees Early Promise In COVID-19 Treatment Study

A vial of the drug Remdesivir presented this week at a news conference in Germany announcing the start of a trial there. (Ulrich Perrey / AFP via Getty Images)
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A small trial of an experimental antiviral drug that could treat COVID-19 patients has shown encouraging results, Cedars-Sinai Hospital officials said today.

Cedars-Sinai is among dozens of sites around the world participating in a clinical trial of the drug Remdesivir. A study about what's happened so far was published Friday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Cedars-Sinai's director of epidemiology says definitive conclusions cannot be drawn, but results from this group of patients are hopeful.

Keep in mind the sample size is very small. There was also no control group receiving a placebo, a common practice in clinical trials.

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According to the study, 61 patients received at least one dose of the drug but only 53 were able to be analyzed. Of those, 22 were in the U.S.

The study found 18 days after the initial dose:

  • 36 patients (68%) improved, including 17 of the 30 patients who were receiving mechanical ventilation who were extubated.
  • 25 patients (47%) were discharged
  • 7 patients (13%) died

Of the sickest patients, those receiving "invasive ventilation" the mortality rate was 18% (6 of 34). There was also one death of a patient not receiving invasive ventilation. The study's authors also reported side effects ranging from a rash and diarrhea to acute kidney injury.
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