Rhesus macaque model of remdesivir use for COVID-19

June 30, 2020

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Preclinical data from animal models can be used to guide the search for effective COVID-19 treatments by ruling out treatments without in vivo efficacy. Remdesivir is a nucleotide analogue prodrug with broad antiviral activity that is currently being investigated in clinical trials and has recently received Emergency Use Authorization from the US FDA. In animal models, remdesivir treatment was effective against MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV infections. In vitro, remdesivir has been found to inhibit the replication of SARS-CoV-2. The authors examined the efficacy of remdesivir treatment in a rhesus macaque model of COVID-19. They found that, in contrast to placebo-treated animals, animals treated with remdesivir did not show signs of respiratory disease and had reduced pulmonary infiltrates on radiographs and reduced virus titres in bronchoalveolar lavages 12 hrs after the first treatment. However, viral shedding from the upper respiratory tract was not reduced by remdesivir treatment. At necropsy, lung viral loads of remdesivir-treated animals were lower and there was a reduction in lung damage. Therefore, therapeutic remdesivir treatment initiated early during SARS-CoV-2 infection seems to have a clinical benefit in rhesus macaques.

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Williamson BN, Feldmann F, Schwarz B, Meade-White K, Porter DP, et al. ISSN: Nature; doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2423-5


Added: June 30, 2020