Background Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, has led to significant global mortality and morbidity. Until now, no treatment has proven to be effective in COVID-19. To explore whether the use of remdesivir, initially an experimental broad-spectrum antiviral, is effective in the treatment of hospitalized patients with COVID-19, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized, placebo-controlled trials investigating its use. Methods A rapid search of the MEDLINE and EMBASE medical databases was conducted for randomized controlled trials. A systematic approach was used to screen, abstract, and critically appraise the studies. Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) method was applied to rate the certainty and quality of the evidence reported per study. Results Two RCTs studies were identified (n=1,299). A fixed-effects meta-analysis revealed reductions in mortality (RR=0.69, 0.49 to 0.99), time to clinical improvement (3.95 less days, from 3.86 days less to 4.05 less days ), serious adverse events (RR=0.77, 0.63 to 0.94) and all adverse events (RR=0.87, 0.79 to 0.96). Conclusion In this rapid systematic review, we present pooled evidence from the 2 included RCT studies that reveal that remdesivir has a modest yet significant reduction in mortality and significantly improves the time to recovery, as well as significantly reduced risk in adverse events and serious adverse events. It is more than likely that as an antiviral, remdesivir is not sufficient on its own and may be suitable in combination with other antivirals or treatments such as convalescent plasma. Research is ongoing to clarify and contextual these promising findings.