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First trial for Remdesivir shows it has no effect; insider trading suspected

Remdesivir, a drug hailed by some media outlets to be the best treatment against Covid-19, failed to have any effect in the first full trial, it has been revealed.

Published: April 26, 2020, 8:34 am

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    It is one of the drugs that US President Donald Trump claimed was “promising” but the drug trial was also stopped early because of the many negative side-effects.

    News of the failure was posted on a World Health Organization clinical trials database, but later removed. “A draft document was provided by the authors to WHO and inadvertently posted on the website and taken down as soon as the mistake was noticed. The manuscript is undergoing peer review and we are waiting for a final version before WHO comments,” a WHO spokesperson told the media.

    The drug, made by the US company Gilead Sciences was initially used against Ebola without any positive results. But according to STAT News, it was going to provide the answer to the pandemic. The stock price of the company rocketed as a result.

    However, there was no placebo group in the trial, which means that researchers could not know if the drug made the difference.

    On Friday, a US congressman urged the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate insider trading. Texas Democrat Rep. Lloyd Doggett, chair of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, said the leak was “so significant” at a time when the world is “so desperate to find a cure”.

    Doggett highlighted that “providing information that’s designed to impact the stock market is not something that is permitted under federal securities law”.

    It is not yet clear where the leak came from. “That’s why we need a thorough SEC investigation,” he said.

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