Kampala, Uganda | AFRICATEMBELEA | Uganda is planning to go ahead and treat Covid-19 patients using Remdesvir, an injectable drug that had been developed to treat Ebola but failed to tame the deadly virus.
But the decision comes after a World Health Organization study found the drug to have no effect on treating COVID-19.
According to results released from the WHO Solidarity Therapeutic trial, the drug had neither any effect in reducing hospital stay, nor the probability of someone being ventilated or preventing even death.
The findings showed that 703 patients who received the drug still required ventilation after receiving the drugs compared to 679 who were ventilated after not receiving any of the drug.
In regard to reducing the number of days spent in hospital, the findings show that Remdesvir had little effect on this. The drug could only shorten hospital stays for a few with over 60 percent of the patients who got the drug being admitted for more that seven days.
Despite the results, scientists on the COVID-19 Scientific Committee say that they will continue to consider using the drug.
Dr Bruce Kirenga a lung expert who is part of the COVID-19 treatment team in an interview with URN said that they will not use findings from one study to decide whether they should use the drug after previous studies have shown there’s benefit to using it.
The drug was previously given approval for emergency use by the US Food and Drug Administration(FDA) after a study carried out by the US National Institute of Health and Gilead showed that the drug could reduce the recovery time of patients from 15 to 11 days.
Usage of the drug in the country has not yet begun but Kirenga says they are carrying out training and organizing how to roll out usage of the drug. Kirenga however says they are are going to anaylse all the data from different trials on the drug before they can make a conclusion.
The country is currently using dexamethasone, an anti-inflammatory steroid, to treat critically ill patients. Uganda has a total of 10,590 reported cases of the disease to date with 97 deaths.