One of the more popular drugs being used as a treatment for COVID-19 patients is becoming more readily available to Louisiana hospitals.
The state will receive more than 8,000 vials of the antiviral drug Remdesivir, which Dr. Anthony Fauci of the White House Coronavirus Task Force has touted for the “promising” signs it has shown in treating patients with the novel coronavirus.
Gov. John Bel Edwards said Louisiana received its first allocation of 1,200 vials on May 14 followed by its second allocation of 3,366 vials on May 19. The final allocation of 3,828 vials is expected to arrive on Friday, he told reporters.
The first two allocations were distributed to 44 hospitals across the state, and the third will be divided among 47 hospitals, Edwards said.
According to the governor, hospitals with at least five COVID-19 patients will receive vials of Remdesivir, while hospitals with fewer than five can request the drug if they have a patient they believe will benefit from it.
There are two possible treatments for Remdesivir, which is being manufactured by Gilead Sciences: a five-day treatment and a 10-day treatment. One vial equals one treatment.
“On average, it’s about 7 vials to treat one person,” Edwards told reporters.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has touted the use of Remdesivir since late April, saying it has “a clear-cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery.”
During a clinical trial, Remdesivir was shown to shorten the recovery time in some COVID-19 patients, according to the release. Since then, Gilead Sciences donated vials of Remdesivir to the U.S. government to be distributed nationwide, with the initial allotment distributed to states and territories earlier in May.
“It is a very important proof of concept because what it is proving is that a drug can block this virus.”
Remdesivir is authorized for the treatment of hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19 disease. The emergency use authorization allows for the distribution and emergency use of Remdesivir only for the treatment of COVID-19. It remains an investigational drug and has not been approved by FDA.