The World Health Organization is recommending against the use of the antiviral drug remdesivir for treating COVID-19 patients.
Gilead Sciences, the manufacturer, refuted the organization's findings and touted its own studies proving its drug's efficacy.
The organization said that its expert panel had found no evidence that remdesivir had any "meaningful effect" on coronavirus patients. It said that it found no indication that the drug reduced clinical improvement times for infected patients.
The organization's review, which was published in the journal The BMJ, did not outright dismiss the use of the drug as coronavirus treatment. However, the panel review did say that there was insufficient evidence to recommend its use.
In response to the review, Gilead Sciences claimed that its drug is now recognized as a standard in treating COVID-19 patients. It added that numerous credible studies conducted by national organizations, including the U.S. National Institutes of Health and Infectious Diseases Society of America, Japan, the UK and Germany, fully back its claims.
Gilead Sciences said "multiple randomized, controlled studies published in peer-reviewed journals" had proven the clinical benefits of remdesivir.
Even before the organization published its review, the efficacy of remdesivir has been the subject of numerous debates and continued skepticism. This further escalated after the Food and Drug Administration approved the drug for nationwide distribution late last month.
Skeptics of the drug pointed out that a lot of the studies were sponsored by Gilead and some did not include placebo controls. U.S. President Donald Trump, who is a supporter of the drug, had been treated with remdesivir when he was diagnosed and hospitalized for COVID-19.
In its own study, the organization reviewed four separate trials, including one conducted by the NIH, which involved more than 5,000 coronavirus patients. Dr. Bram Rochwerg, a joint chairperson of the World Health Organization panel, said that the results of the trials had "brought into question" the claimed benefits of the drug.
In its conclusion, the organization said that the drug was simply too expensive and is administered intravenously. The organization recommended that funds used to procure the drug could be used for other more effective treatments.