First coronavirus mutation resistant to antiviral drug remdesivir discovered

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A group of scientists has discovered the first covid-19 mutation resistant to the antiviral drug remdesivir, according to a study posted this week on the medRxiv prepress server.

The researchers presented the case of a immunosuppressed patient in his 70s suffering from cancer. The woman contracted COVID-19 in May 2020 and was treated with remdesivir.

The drug initially relieved the patient’s symptoms, but gradually lost its effectiveness. The woman’s viral load spiked again soon, during and after treatment, and she continued to experience symptoms of the disease. The patient recovered a few months later, but only after receiving the monoclonal antibody treatment.

“The finding is limited to a single case and requires confirmation of its generalizability to broader patient populations,” the study notes.

For the analysis, the researchers took a sample of the virus from the patient and sequenced her genome, discovering a “An intriguing mutation,” said Akiko Iwasaki of Yale University (USA).

“This study illustrates that endogenous immune responses were unable to control the virus in this immunosuppressed person, and that resistance to remdesivir arose during treatment“Iwasaki said.

The antiviral drug remdesivir was originally developed against Ebola but was unsuccessful. However, in 2020 doctors tried to use it to cure the coronavirus and verified its effectiveness. A study confirmed that the use of remdesivir increases the chances of survival of coronavirus patients.

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However, the World Health Organization advised against its use in the treatment of patients with covid-19 due to the little impact of the drug in the infected. Despite criticism from the WHO, the US approved the use of the drug to treat people with coronavirus.

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