Recent reports said Gilead Sciences Inc.'s remdesivir keeps high-risk COVID-19 patients from getting admitted to the hospital.
A Reuters report said the company announced that its intravenous antiviral drug helped keep the patients out of hospital "in a randomized trial."
The over 560 patients in the study all suffered conditions that increased their risk of becoming severely ill. Half of the participants were given three days of treatment through remdesivir, which is marketed under the label, Veklury, while the rest of the patients were given placebo treatment.
After four weeks, 5.3 percent of the patients belonging to the placebo group had been admitted at the hospital or died, compared to those given remdesivir at 0.7 percent. The figures mean there's an 87-percent lower risk of hospitalization or death.
ALSO READ: 'Worrying' Mutation Detected in the UK
Patients Treated with Remdesivir
Patients who received treatment with remdesivir had substantially lesser medical visits as well, Gilead said. The drug is presently authorized in hospitalized patients for emergency use.
According to the study leader, Baylor University Medical Center's Dr. Robert Gattlieb, these latest data present the potential of remdesivir to help patients at high-risk recover before they become sicker, and altogether, stay out of the hospital. Gottlieb's team is planning to formally report the data at an upcoming medical conference.
Researchers believe that a protein also known as CD47 that's helping damaged cells prevent destruction by the immune system may be adding to the severity of COVID-19 cases.
Drugs like remdesivir, which are currently being developed, targeting this particular protein, may lead to improved COVID-19 treatments. This has been suggested in a report published in Current Issues in Molecular Biology.
In a statement, co-author of the study, the University of Kent's Martin Michaelis said, they may have identified a major factor linked to COVID-19.
He added further progress can now be looked forward to in the design of treatments. In experiments carried out in the lab, the researchers discovered that CD47, which effectively alerts the immune system, seemingly saying, "Do not eat me!" exists in increased amounts on the surfaces of cells infected with COVID-19.
A similar Nasdaq report said SARS-CoV-2 infection is also increasing levels of SIRPalpha, another protein that partners with CD47 to trick the immune system into disregarding the infected cells.
Previous studies have found that levels of the CD47 are elevated, too, in conditions that put individuals at high critical illness risk from COVID-29 like old age, high blood pressure, diabetes, and clogged blood vessels.
In these said groups, high levels of CD47 protein may predispose to severe infection of COVID-19, the researchers explained. They added, more studies are needed to define the functions of CD47 and, or, SIRPalpha in COVID-19 "in more detail."
Reduced Life Expectancy
This global health crisis has reduced life expectancy last year by the largest amount since World War II, with the American men's life expectancy dropping by more than two years, the new data specified.
In the 29 countries surveyed, including the United States, Chile, and 27 in Europe, all except two nations exhibited declines in life expectancy.
Greater declines in life expectancy rates for men and women in most nations. According to the study's co-leader, Ridhi Kashyap, from the University of Oxford, these large drops in life expectancy seen in the US can partially be explained by the notable rise in mortality rate at working ages seen last year.
In the US, the rise in mortality in the below-60 age group added most substantially to drops in life expectancy, whereas across most of Europe, increases in mortality rates over 60 years of age contributed more considerably.
Related information about remdesivir's contribution to COVID-19 treatment is shown on CRUX's YouTube video below:
Check out more news and information on COVID-19 on Science Times.