I-TEAM: Clock is running out on remdesivir as last shipments coming soon
Friday, June 12, 2020
News 12 at 6 O'Clock/NBC at 7
AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- The remdesivir clock is ticking. The federal government will reportedly send its last shipment of the anti-viral drug that's being used to treat COVID-19 on June 29.
"They are low because they only released a certain amount, and that amount that they released was for the world. It was not just for the United States," AU Health infectious disease expert Dr. Jose Vazquez said. "It was for the world."
Vazquez has seen first-hand what it can do.
"Getting the patients out of the hospital and preventing patients from going into the ICU and being intubated," Vazquez said.
Remdesivir has "not been approved by the FDA for any use", but in February, the Department of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency that allowed the FDA to do this emergency authorization with the drug's distribution controlled "by the United States government."
Gilead Sciences, the company behind it, donated the 1.5 million doses. AU received two shipments.
"We have enough here for a while, because we've been able to get a bunch," Vazquez said.
Remdesivir is still considered investigational even after being used in other health emergencies like Ebola and SARS.
Gilead is now ramping up its production, but Vazquez says other drugs are also being tested.
"Hopefully, starting new studies with different drugs, within the next month here, new novel drugs that are in phase two, phase three. So we should have those available as well besides just remdesivir," Vazquez said.
Which is welcome news, considering that June 29 deadline is quickly approaching.
It's important to note remdesivir is not considered a cure for coronavirus but it is a treatment. It's given by IV, but experts hope it will soon be available in pill form.