Efficacy and safety of remdesivir in hospitalized Covid-19 patients: Systematic review and meta-analysis including network meta-analysis

Rev Med Virol. 2021 Jul;31(4):e2187. doi: 10.1002/rmv.2187. Epub 2020 Oct 31.


Remdesivir is an antiviral agent that has shown broad-spectrum activity, including against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Clinical trials investigating the role of remdesivir in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) reported conflicting results. This study aimed to systematically review the best available evidence and synthesize the results. Several electronic databases were searched for candidate studies up to 12 October 2020. Studies eligible for meta-analysis were selected based on the inclusion criteria. Primary outcomes are the recovery and mortality rates, while secondary outcomes are the safety profile of remdesivir. The main effective measures are the rate ratio (RR) and rate difference (RD). Four clinical trials and one observational study were included. Remdesivir treatment for 10 days increased the recovery rate on day 14 by 50% among severe Covid-19 patients (RR = 1.5, 95%CI = 1.33-1.7), while on day 28 it was increased by 14% among moderate and severe Covid-19 patients (RR = 1.14, 95%CI = 1.06-1.22). Additionally, remdesivir decreased the mortality rate on day 14 by 36% among all patients (RR = 0.64, 95%CI = 0.45-0.92) but not on day 28 (RR = 1.05, 95%CI = 0.56-1.97). Nonmechanically ventilated Covid-19 patients showed better response to remdesivir in the recovery (RR = 0.3, 95%CI = 0.13-0.7) and mortality (RR = 2.33, 95%CI = 1.24-4.4) rates on day 14. Remdesivir reduced serious adverse effects by absolute 6% and no significant Grade 3 or 4 adverse effects were reported. At this early stage of the pandemic, there is evidence that remdesivir can be safely administered for hospitalized Covid-19 patients. It improves the recovery rate in both moderate and severe patients but, the optimal effect is achieved for those who are severely affected but not mechanically ventilated.

Keywords: Covid-19; SARS-CoV-2; clinical trials; moderate; remdesivir; safety; severe.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Monophosphate / analogs & derivatives
  • Alanine / analogs & derivatives
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • COVID-19* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Network Meta-Analysis
  • SARS-CoV-2


  • Antiviral Agents
  • remdesivir
  • Adenosine Monophosphate
  • Alanine

Supplementary concepts

  • COVID-19 drug treatment