West J Emerg Med. 2020 May 20;21(4):737-741. doi: 10.5811/westjem.2020.5.47658.
In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared the spread of SARS-CoV-2 a global pandemic. To date, coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) has spread to over 200 countries, leading to over 1.6 million cases and over 99,000 deaths. Given that there is neither a vaccine nor proven treatment for COVID-19, there is currently an urgent need for effective pharmacotherapy. To address the need for an effective treatment of SARS-CoV-2 during the worldwide pandemic, this systematic review of intravenous (IV) remdesivir was performed. Remdesivir, an anti-viral prodrug originally developed to treat Ebola virus disease, has shown broad spectrum activity against the Coronavirus family. A recent case report reported improvement of clinical symptoms with remdesivir in a patient with COVID-19. After conducting a systematic search of 18 clinical trial registries and three large scientific databases, we identified 86 potentially eligible items. Following removal of duplicates (n = 21), eligible studies were reviewed independently by two authors. After the first round of screening, inter-rater agreement was 98.5% (κ = 0.925). After the second round of full-text screening, inter-rater agreement was 100%. A total of seven ongoing and recruiting clinical trials of remdesivir (100-200 milligrams, intravenous [IV]) were included. We identified the following primary outcomes: patients discharged (n = 2); time to clinical status improvement (n = 2); improved O2 saturation (n = 2); body temperature normalization (n = 2); and clinical status (n = 1). Secondary outcomes in all identified studies included documentation of adverse events. Phase 3 trials are expected to be completed between April 2020-2023. Therefore, despite supportive data from in vitro and in vivo studies, the clinical effectiveness of IV remdesivir for treatment of COVID-19 and potential side effects remain incompletely defined in the human population.