What is Remdesivir therapy and how much does it cost? Trump 'resting comfortably' after completing first dose

Dr Sean P Conley, Trump’s official presidential physician said that POTUS 'did not need supplemental oxygen' and had started taking Remdesivir

                            What is Remdesivir therapy and how much does it cost? Trump 'resting comfortably' after completing first dose
Donald Trump (Getty Images)

President Donald Trump is reportedly fine after taking the medicine Remdesivir for his treatment of Covid-19. On October 2, Dr. Sean P. Conley, Trump’s official presidential physician said that POTUS did not need supplemental oxygen, and had started taking Remdesivir. This was mentioned in a statement that was shared on Twitter by the president’s press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.

"This afternoon, in consultation with specialists from Walter Reed and Johns Hopkins University, I recommended movement of the President up to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for further monitoring. This evening I am happy to report that the President is doing very well. He is not requiring supplemental oxygen, but in consultation with specialists, we have elected to initiate Remdesivir therapy. He has completed his first dose and is resting comfortably," Conley wrote. Trump himself tweeted shortly after the release of this statement on October 2. “Going well, I think! Thank you to all. LOVE!” 



As Trump’s tweet assures many about his wellness, his physician’s tweet on Remdesivir therapy makes us shed some light on this treatment.

What is Remdesivir therapy?

Remdesivir, which is sold under the brand name Veklury, is a broad-spectrum antiviral medication created by the biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences. As per a report by New England Journal of Medicine, the method of treating patients with Remdesivir for Covid-19 involved giving them either Remdesivir (200 mg loading dose on day 1, followed by 100 mg daily for up to 9 additional days) or placebo for up to 10 days. The primary outcome of this treatment was to monitor time to recovery, defined by either discharge from the hospital or hospitalization for infection-control purposes only. 

Healthcare professionals prepare to screen people for the coronavirus at a testing site erected by the Maryland National Guard in a parking lot at FedEx Field March 30, 2020 in Landover, Maryland. (Getty Images)

The report mentioned that use of Remdesivir could yield good survival results. “We hypothesize that based on the results of the trial conducted by Beigel et al., much earlier administration of Remdesivir would achieve a greater effect on survival,” the report said. The report further states, “In the trial, hospitalized patients who received Remdesivir had a significantly shorter time to clinical recovery than those who received placebo (median recovery time, 11 days vs. 15 days). The median time from symptom onset to randomization was 9 days (interquartile range, 6 to 12). Notably, the benefit of Remdesivir was limited to patients who received oxygen therapy; it did not extend to those with mild disease or those who were receiving advanced ventilation.” 

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However, a Lancet report published on October 3, titled ‘Remdesivir and COVID-19,’ said that Remdesivir did not appear to show viral RNA load decline or affect mortality rate when compared with placebo. The report states, “Although admittedly underpowered due to early trial termination, Remdesivir did not appear to affect rates of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) viral RNA load decline and mortality when compared with placebo. Given these disappointing findings, we are left to wonder if a lack of clinically significant outcomes in placebo-controlled trials could have been predicted.”

How much does it cost?

As per a June report by NPR, Remdesivir is priced more than $3,100 for a course of treatment. The report further mentions that in America, Gilead Sciences will charge $520 per vial for patients with private insurance, with some government programs getting a lower price. With a double-dose the first day, that comes out to $3,120 for the five-day treatment course. As per the latest update Gilead will directly sell Remdesivir to American hospitals as reported by Fierce Pharma.


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