Gilead’s anti-COVID Veklury reduces risk of death

Starting Veklury (remdesivir) within the first two days of hospitalization for COVID-19 can reduce mortality and decrease readmission rates for all hospitalized patients, regardless of severity, said Gilead Sciences.

“Early treatment with remdesivir led to better patient outcomes regardless of the predominant circulating variant of concern. We see this risk reduction consistently across all oxygen levels and disease severity, including in immunocompromised patients,” said UCLA Health pulmonologist and study author Chidinma Chima-Melton.

“This is indeed a paradigm shift in the way we think about treating our most vulnerable patients,” continued Chima-Melton.

The findings are based on three retrospective, real-world analyses, said the company, a Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) member.

Gilead collected data from more than 800 institutions across the country. Gilead says they analyzed clinical practice data from the U.S. Premier Healthcare databases of over 500,000 adult patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Two separate studies investigated all-cause inpatient mortality rates at 14- and 28-day intervals.

Beginning Veklury within the first two days of hospitalization significantly lowered the risk of mortality in patients at all oxygen levels, compared to control patients who did not receive Veklury during their COVID-19 hospitalization.

Gilead will present the data at the 30th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI). It’s expected to offer useful insights as the COVID-19 virus continues to mutate.

“The real-world evidence presented at CROI is based on an analysis of the clinical practice data of hospitalized patient populations to help assess the treatment effects of Veklury in both the overall patient population, as well as subsets of patients that are considered high-risk for severe disease from COVID-19, like immunocompromised patient populations,” said Dr. Frank Duff of Gilead Sciences.

The second analysis revealed the drug reduced mortality among vulnerable patient groups, including those with immunocompromised conditions who may experience repeat or breakthrough infections.

The administration of Veklury within two days of hospital admission resulted in an overall 25% lower mortality risk than non-Veklury treatment across all variants, including Delta and Omicron. By day 28, Veklury significantly reduced mortality risk by 35% for pre-Delta, 21% for Delta, and 16% for Omicron cases, Gilead reports.

According to Johanna Mercier, chief commercial officer at Gilead, the drug maker’s model for COVID-19 treatment is “quite sustainable moving forward,” per Reuters.

“It’s still the only antiviral indicated at the hospital level at this point,” Mercier said. “In many countries around the world, it is the treatment of choice when they decide to treat hospitalized patients.”

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