All of the results with remdesivir have been very encouraging, but it is still investigational. Hence, it is essential to directly demonstrate its activity against SARS-CoV-2 in the lab and an animal model of the disease.
A new study by the Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) come in support with remdesivir- suggesting that remdesivir potently inhibited SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19, in human lung cell cultures and that it improved lung function in mice infected with the virus.
These preclinical findings help explain the clinical effect the drug has had in treating COVID-19 patients. Remdesivir has been given to patients hospitalized with COVID-19 on a compassionate use basis since late January and through clinical trials since February.
In April, a preliminary report from the multicenter Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial (which included VUMC) suggested that patients who received the drug recovered more quickly.
VUMC’s Andrea Pruijssers, Ph.D., said, “This study is the first rigorous demonstration of potent inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 in continuous and primary human lung cultures. It also suggests that remdesivir can block the virus in a mouse model.”
“Ongoing clinical trials will determine precisely how much it benefits patients in different stages of COVID-19 disease.”
“Meanwhile, in the laboratory, We also are focusing on how to use remdesivir and other drugs in combinations to increase their effectiveness during COVID-19 and to be able to treat at different times of infection.”
- Andrea J. Pruijssers et al, Remdesivir inhibits SARS-CoV-2 in human lung cells and chimeric SARS-CoV expressing the SARS-CoV-2 RNA polymerase in mice., Cell Reports (2020). DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2020.107940