The Texas Department of State Health Services is distributing 1,200 vials of the drug remdesivir to hospitals to treat patients with COVID-19.
The antiviral medication, which has shown promise in early trials in speeding up the recovery time among hospitalized COVID-19 patients, has been provided by the federal government from a supply donated by Gilead, the manufacturer.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services sent Texas 30 cases of remdesivir, enough to treat approximately 120 patients. Each case contains 40 vials of the drug. DSHS consulted on the distribution rationale with the Texas Hospital Association, Texas Medical Association, and the Rapid Assessment Subcommittee of the Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response.
Texas is shipping the limited supply today to 15 hospitals in 14 communities, ensuring that patients in regions across the state will have access to the drug while providing additional supplies to areas that have had more COVID-19 cases. Additionally, some hospitals in Texas are able to receive remdesivir through clinical trials or the manufacturer’s expanded access program. Where that’s the case, the state supply is being directed to other facilities in the area.
Medical staff at each hospital will determine how the drug will be used, though it must be prescribed in accordance with the Food and Drug Administration’s Emergency Use Authorization, allowing for the treatment of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 in adults and children hospitalized with severe disease. Preliminary results from a clinical trial showed the average recovery time among patients who received remdesivir was 11 days versus 15 days with a placebo. Those preliminary results did not show significant survival benefit.