November 13, 2020

Background: There have been lots of trials sitting on my computer desktop awaiting my review, but like many of you time has been thin from clinical work and increasing cases of COVID-19 where I work.  I thought it might be more effective to give you the Cliff’s Notes highlights of each since the time for deep dives remains elusive.  As always, I urge you to read each of the papers yourselves and come to your own conclusions. Thus far in the pandemic, there have been few treatment options available to manage COVID-19. Many clinicians have been using repurposed drugs with scant data as well as other non-drug interventions.  Let’s get into some recent data behind these interventions.

October 18, 2020

The Novel Coronavirus 2019, was first reported on in Wuhan, China in late December 2019.  The outbreak was declared a public health emergency of international concern in January 2020 and on March 11th, 2020, the outbreak was declared a global pandemic.  The spread of this virus is now global with lots of media attention.  The virus has been named SARS-CoV-2 and the disease it causes has become known as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).  This new outbreak has been producing lots of hysteria and false truths being spread, however the data surrounding the biology, epidemiology, and clinical characteristics are growing daily, making this a moving target.  Below are two videos I created discussing 10 topics on COVID-19 (Both videos were recorded on Oct 13th, 2020).

September 10, 2020

Background: There are three randomized clinical trials now published on remdesivir in the treatment of COVID-19 pneumonia (RCT 1, RCT 2, & RCT 3). The 1st trial, performed in China, was terminated early due the lack of patients to enroll and, as a result, did not give strong recommendations.  The 2nd trial (ACTT-1) showed a statistically significant 4-day reduction in time to recovery. However, it was also terminated early due to an interim analysis, which meant we do not have outcomes on 30% of patients enrolled.  Finally, the 3rd RCT compared a 5-day to a 10-day course of remdesivir and showed no difference in outcomes with more acute kidney injury in the 10-day course. All of these trials have significant issues leaving clinicians unsure of the efficacy of the drug, when to administer it, how long to give it for and, in which patient group it should be given. We now have our 4th RCT of remdesivir evaluating the efficacy and adverse events of remdesivir administered for 5- or 10-days vs standard care in hospitalized patients with moderate COVID-19.

June 2, 2020

Background: We have covered the two previous RCTs on remdesivir on REBEL EM (RCT #1 and RCT #2). In the first trial by Wang et al [2], there was no statically significant improvement in clinical outcomes, but, there were trends toward shorter duration of illness. In the ACTT-1 preliminary report [3], despite all the methodological issues, there was a 4 day decrease in clinical improvement (although not in patients requiring HFNC/NIV/IMV/ECMO).  Neither trial was perfect, however in the middle of pandemic, a several day decrease in recovery time may be beneficial in reducing hospital crowding if the difference holds true in subsequent studies and if the correct target population is known.  We now have our 3rd RCT on remdesivir [1], just published in the NEJM comparing 5 days vs 10 days of remdesivir in patients with severe COVID-19.

May 31, 2020

I am fortunate to work in a hospital system that is very forward thinking.  We have a phenomenal relationship with our intensivists, and I have been fortunate enough to have several discussions with them about how we are managing COVID-19 in our ICUs.  For full transparency, I don’t work up in the ICU, but had the opportunity to discuss what we are doing in our ICUs with one of our intensivists (ECMO, steroids, Remdesivir, etc...).  We are doing something different in San Antonio that I thought was worth discussing on this podcast that may be a feasible option for some institutions and some patients, but not all. If there is one thing this disease has taught me, that is one size does not fit all.