(HealthDay News) — Among hospitalized COVID-19 patients, remdesivir added to standard care does not reduce in-hospital mortality, but it does reduce the need for mechanical ventilation, according to a study published online in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

Karim Ali, MD, from Niagara Health in St. Catharines, Canada, and colleagues reported findings of the Canadian Treatments for COVID-19 trial to examine the role of remdesivir. A total of 1282 patients across 52 Canadian hospitals were randomly assigned between Aug. 14, 2020, and April 1, 2021, to 10 days of remdesivir plus standard care or standard care alone (634 and 648 patients, respectively); the final sample comprised 1267 patients.

The researchers found that in-hospital mortality was 18.7% among patients randomly assigned to receive remdesivir compared with 22.6% in the standard care group (relative risk, 0.83; 95% confidence interval, 0.67 to 1.03); 60-day mortality was 24.8 and 28.2%, respectively (relative risk, 0.88; 95% confidence interval, 0.72 to 1.07). The need for mechanical ventilation was 8.0 and 15.0% in those assigned remdesivir and standard care, respectively, among those not mechanically ventilated at baseline (relative risk, 0.53; 95% confidence interval, 0.38 to 0.75). At day 28, the mean oxygen-free and ventilator-free days were 15.9 and 21.4, respectively, in those receiving remdesivir and 14.2 and 19.5, respectively, in those receiving standard care.

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“The benefit of treatment was most apparent for preventing the need for mechanical ventilation, suggesting probable added value for patients with less severe disease to avoid progression during hospital stay,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry; one author disclosed pending patents related to the study subject matter.

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