The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is distributing a second allotment of the drug remdesivir received from the federal government. Twenty-nine hospitals in Georgia will receive remdesivir, enough to treat more than 300 patients, depending on the duration of an individual’s illness and treatment needs.
Remdesivir is an antiviral medicine being used to treat hospitalized patients with serious symptoms caused by COVID-19 like low oxygen levels or pneumonia. It has been found to shorten the duration of disease in patients being treated in inpatient hospital settings. Remdesivir is given intravenously (IV) and decreases the amount of coronavirus in the body, helping patients recover faster.
3,440 vials of remdesivir, able to treat approximately 310 patients, will be distributed to 29 hospitals affiliated with the following healthcare systems: Navicent, Northside, Piedmont and WellStar.
Georgia hospitals receiving remdesivir reported 10 or more COVID-19 positive patients on ventilators, in addition to patients currently being treated with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), a machine that takes over the work of the heart and lungs. These criteria are subject to change based on the availability of remdesivir and the development of patient care at hospital facilities across the state.
A third allotment of remdesivir in powder form is expected to arrive in Georgia by Friday, May 22. The liquid form of remdesivir is not recommended for pediatric use, but the powder form can be mixed for dosing based on a child’s weight, which will provide treatment for the youngest patients with COVID-19 infection.
Gilead Sciences Inc., the maker of remdesivir, is donating approximately 607,000 vials of the experimental drug to treat an estimated 78,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients under an emergency use agreement (EUA). The donation to the United States is part of 1.5 million vials of remdesivir the company is donating worldwide.
Remdesivir has not been approved by the FDA for widespread use because it is considered investigational and it is still being studied. Remdesivir was originally developed for use against Ebola. Clinical trials for remdesivir were done in Georgia at Emory University Hospital.