Remdesivir (Veklury)

Remdesivir (Veklury) is a broad-spectrum antiviral medication that has been approved or authorized for emergency use to treat COVID-19 in many countries. It is administered via injection into a vein and can reduce the recovery time in some patients with pneumonia requiring supplemental oxygen. In this blog post, we will explain how remdesivir works and what are its benefits and side effects.

Remdesivir is a prodrug, which means that it is not active by itself, but it is converted into an active form inside the cells. The active form of remdesivir is called remdesivir triphosphate (RDV-TP), and it interferes with the production of viral RNA, the genetic material of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. RDV-TP acts as a fake building block and competes with the natural building block (ATP) for incorporation into the growing viral RNA chain. When RDV-TP is incorporated, it causes the chain to terminate prematurely, preventing the virus from multiplying and infecting more cells.

Remdesivir has been tested in several clinical trials involving hospitalized patients with COVID-19. The main study (NIAID-ACTT-1) showed that remdesivir can speed up the recovery time in some patients, allowing them to spend less time in hospital or on treatment. The study showed that, in the overall study population, patients treated with remdesivir recovered after about 11 days, compared with 15 days for patients given placebo (a dummy treatment). For patients with severe disease requiring supplemental oxygen, time to recovery was 12 days for patients given remdesivir, compared with 18 days for patients on placebo.

Remdesivir is not a cure for COVID-19, and it does not prevent death or serious complications from the disease. It is also not suitable for everyone, and it can cause side effects. The most common side effect in healthy volunteers is raised blood levels of liver enzymes, which may indicate liver damage. The most common side effect in people with COVID-19 is nausea. Other possible side effects include liver inflammation and an infusion-related reaction with nausea, low blood pressure, and sweating. Remdesivir should only be used under medical supervision and in healthcare facilities where patients can be monitored closely.

Remdesivir is a novel antiviral medication that has shown some promise in treating COVID-19. However, more research is needed to confirm its effectiveness and safety, and to determine its optimal dose and duration of treatment. Remdesivir is not a substitute for preventive measures such as vaccination, wearing masks, social distancing, and hand hygiene. Remdesivir is one of the tools that can help fight the pandemic, but it is not the only one.

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