Remdesivir for treatment of COVID-19; an updated systematic review and meta-analysis

Eur J Pharmacol. 2021 Apr 15;897:173926. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2021.173926. Epub 2021 Feb 4.


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has become a global health crisis. Considering the recent food and drug administration (FDA) approval of remdesivir as the first officially approved agent for COVID-19 treatment, we performed this systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate the efficacy and safety of remdesivir administration in COVID-19 patients. A systematic literature search was done through MEDLINE, Google Scholar, Web of Science, Scopus, Science Direct, Cochrane Library, medRxiv, and bioRxiv from their inception to December 22nd, 2020. Five randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and five non-randomized studies of intervention (NRSI) were entered into the meta-analysis. The results showed that remdesivir administration was associated with a significant improvement in the 28-day recovery (RR = 1.09, 95%CI, 1.04-1.15), low flow oxygen support through days one to 14 (RR = 2.88, 95%CI, 1.80-4.60), and invasive mechanical ventilation or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation requirement through days 14-28 of the follow-up time (RR = 5.34, 95%CI, 2.37-12.05). The risk of experiencing serious adverse drug reactions (ADRs) was significantly lower (RR = 0.75, 95%CI, 0.63-0.90) in the remdesivir group than the comparison/control group. The pooled median difference of the time to clinical improvement was 2.99 (95%CI = 2.71-3.28), which did not remain significant during the sensitivity analysis. The clinical output comparison of the 5-day and 10-day remdesivir courses revealed that the 5-day regimen might provide similar benefits while causing fewer serious ADRs than 10-day. The current meta-analysis provided an updated evaluation of scientific evidence on the use of remdesivir in COVID-19 patients. Performing adequate well-designed RCTs are needed to show more accurate results.

Keywords: COVID-19; Coronavirus; Meta-analysis; Remdesivir; SARS-CoV-2; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Monophosphate / adverse effects
  • Adenosine Monophosphate / analogs & derivatives*
  • Adenosine Monophosphate / therapeutic use
  • Alanine / adverse effects
  • Alanine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Alanine / therapeutic use
  • Antiviral Agents / adverse effects
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • COVID-19 / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antiviral Agents
  • remdesivir
  • Adenosine Monophosphate
  • Alanine

Supplementary concepts

  • COVID-19 drug treatment