MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — On Tuesday, Alabama hospitals received the experimental drug remdesivir to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
The drug was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on May 1st.
This was made possible by a donation by Gilead Sciences, Inc., through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). At least one course of treatment will be sent to each Alabama hospital which has reported a patient eligible for the drug.
“Although the total supply of remdesivir is limited, we are grateful that hospitalized COVID-19 patients with severe disease in Alabama can receive this potentially life-saving medication,” State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said. “Because the quantity is limited, the physician members of the Governor’s Coronavirus Task Force determined a formula to distribute the allotment equitably among the state’s hospitals.”
In order to get the drug, hospitals were required to meet certain guidelines.
“Not every hospital in Alabama received the remdesivir, it was provided to the hospitals that had at least one patient who met the criteria,” said Dr. Karen Landers.
But the big question is how will this drug fight coronavirus?
“It does appear to shorten the length of hospitalizations. We believe it will improve survival once we have more data, but it’s the first step,” said Dr. Don Williamson with the Alabama Hospital Association.
Back in March, Drew McDonald was one of the patients hospitalized with COVID-19. While in the hospital, he took part in an experimental trial for remdesivir. He says he’s not sure if he got the actual drug or the placebo.
“I immediately started showing progress about Wednesday morning, I noticed I was able to be removed from oxygen, I could breathe on my own comfortably,” McDonald said.