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Abstract Background: A novel coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China towards the end of 2019 (SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 virus). Large scale spread within China and internationally led the World Health Organisation to declare a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30th January 2020. The clinical manifestations of COVID-19 virus infection include asymptomatic infection, mild upper respiratory symptoms, severe viral pneumonia with respiratory failure and even death. There are no antivirals of proven clinical efficacy in coronavirus infections. Remdesivir (GS-5734), a nucleoside analogue, has inhibitory effects on animal and human highly pathogenic coronaviruses, including MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, in in-vitro and in-vivo experiments. It is also inhibitory against the COVID-19 virus in-vitro. The aim of this study is to assess the efficacy and safety of remdesivir in adult patients with severe pneumonia caused by COVID-19 virus infection.Methods: The protocol is prepared in accordance with the SPIRIT (Standard Protocol Items: Recommendations for Interventional Trials) guidelines. This is a phase 3, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicentre trial. Adults (≥18 years) with laboratory confirmed COVID-19 virus infection, and severe pneumonia signs or symptoms, and radiologically confirmed severe pneumonia are randomly assigned in a 2:1 ratio to intravenous remdesivir or placebo for 10 days. The primary endpoint is time to clinical improvement (censored at Day 28), defined as the time (in days) from randomization of study treatment (remdesivir or placebo) until a decline of two categories on a six-category ordinal scale of clinical status (1 ꞊ discharged; 6 ꞊ death) or live discharge from hospital. One interim analysis for efficacy and futility will be conducted once half of the total number of events required had been observed.Discussion: This is the first randomized, placebo-controlled trial in 2019-nCoV. Enrolment began in sites in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China on 6th February 2020.Trial registration:, NCT04257656, 6th February 2020.

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