Help is on the way.
The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) on Tuesday received an allotment of the experimental drug remdesivir to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The first shipments were sent overnight to hospitals in the state.
This was made possible with 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 that has reported a patient eligible for the drug.
State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said, “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 lifesaving medication. Because the quantity is limited, the physician members of the Governor’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force determined a formula to distribute the allotment equitably among the state’s hospitals.”
The donated doses of the treatment received an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for COVID-19 patients in areas of the country hardest hit by the pandemic.
Gilead Sciences committed to supplying about 607,000 vials of the experimental drug over the next six weeks to treat an estimated 78,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients under the EUA granted by the FDA. The donation to the U.S. is part of 1.5 million vials of remdesivir the company is donating worldwide.
The National Institutes of Health and Gilead Sciences worked together to conduct a randomized controlled clinical trial of the investigational drug in hospitalized patients. Preliminary results suggested that remdesivir was associated with faster recovery, although the data was not sufficient to determine if the drug was associated with lower mortality.
In addition to the donated doses for hospitalized patients in the United States and other countries, remdesivir is also available in the U.S. through clinical trials. Initial allocations were sent to 13 states earlier in the month and week.
The FDA granted the EUA on May 1, allowing remdesivir to be administered by health care providers to treat suspected or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in adults and children hospitalized with severe disease. Severe disease is defined as patients with low blood-oxygen levels or needing oxygen therapy or more intensive breathing support, such as a mechanical ventilator.
Contact your local county health department for additional information.