Ohio’s share of coronavirus drug remdesivir can treat 100 hospital patients, officials say

In this March 2020 photo provided by Gilead Sciences, a vial of the investigational drug remdesivir is visually inspected at a Gilead manufacturing site in the United States. Given through an IV, the medication is designed to interfere with an enzyme that reproduces viral genetic material. (Gilead Sciences via AP)
Caption
In this March 2020 photo provided by Gilead Sciences, a vial of the investigational drug remdesivir is visually inspected at a Gilead manufacturing site in the United States. Given through an IV, the medication is designed to interfere with an enzyme that reproduces viral genetic material. (Gilead Sciences via AP)

The Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Hospital Association will work together to distribute remdesivir across Ohio.

Ohio received its share of the experimental drug Tuesday from the federal government — an allotment of 20 cases that can treat about 100 hospital patients, according to a news release issued jointly by both agencies.

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Remdesivir in COVID-19 clinical trials has been found to shorten the duration of illness from 15 to 11 days. The Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization for remdesivir to allow the medication to be administered to patients because of the pandemic.

“This is not a cure, but early signs indicate that it can help in the treatment of COVID-19,” said ODH Director Dr. Amy Acton. “Ohio’s allocation is not enough to treat all patients, so we are working with medical experts to ensure distribution is based on clinical best practices.”

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How to distribute the drug was decided by clinicians, pharmacists, public health officials, policymakers, ethicists and other health disciplines that helped with the allocation amount to specific hospitals. The decision was based on the percentage of mechanically ventilated patients, which deems them to have the highest severity level, the release stated.

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Remdesivir is administered intravenously and in two courses depending on the severity of disease. Patients will receive either a five-day (six-dose) course or a 10-day (11-dose) course, as indicated.