DALLAS - Two North Texas hospitals now have a limited supply of a drug that can help treat COVID-19.
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, 1,200 vials of the drug Remdesivir were sent to 15 hospitals across the state. There's a lot still unknown about this drug, but it's the best bet for a drug that's available that could help.
Texas is getting 30 cases of the drug from the federal government, which the Texas Department of State Health Services is distributing.
Parkland Hospital in Dallas will get four cases and John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth will get three cases. Each case contains about 40 vials, which is only enough for about two dozen patients.
JPS says it has not yet received the shipment.
Parkland said, in a statement: “We are grateful to receive a portion of the drug provided to the state by the federal government.”
An early analysis by the National Institute of Health says it does accelerate recovery.
At the beginning of May, the FDA issued an emergency-use authorization to treat hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19 cases. But Remdesivir is not being described as a home run yet.
Dr. Diana Cervantes was the state’s chief epidemiologist during the Ebola response.
“It’ll be interesting to see who gets it and who doesn’t,” she said. “Who’s going to be the right candidate?”
Dr. Cervantes says a Chinese study revealed some adverse reactions to Remdesivir. She says doctors don’t know when is best to give the drug to a patient, although it’s likely most effective in the first few days of symptoms.
“It’s always better to be able to use it early on whenever you first get infected,” she said. “The further out you get, the less likely it is to be effective and work well.”
Right now, Remdesivir is the most available hope for a drug that would help.
DFW Hospital Council CEO Stephen Love issued a statement, wanting to receive more. He said: “We are disappointed that the state of Texas received a very small supply of Remdesivir."
“If you have patients that are very, very sick and you have more patients and they’re dying, you want to be able to say, ‘What do we have right now that might work?’ And try to utilize that,” Dr. Cervantes said.
It’s unclear what plan the hospitals will have to determine who should get Remdesivir and how they will administer it.
Drugmaker Gilead has promised to donate more than 600,000 vials of Remdesivir to the United States over the next six weeks. That would be enough to treat 80,000 patients nationwide.
The Food and Drug Administration granted emergency approval for the drug earlier this month.