VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Nearly 85 Georgia hospitals have received the drug, Remdesivir, from the Department of Public Health to help treat COVID-19 patients.
On May 1, the FDA approved the drug for emergency authorization use only.
South Georgia Medical Center (SGMC) is one of the hospitals that received it and they already used their first dose on Friday.
In order for patients to receive the drug, they must be COVID-19 positive, admitted into the hospital, have severe symptoms, good kidney function and give consent to treatment.
“We are very honored to be one of the hospitals that’s allowed to have this drug. SGMC stands as a regional referral center in the southern half of Georgia so we do see a large volume of patients and we reach out to other colleagues in other communities to try to help and care for their patients,” said Dr. Brian Dawson, Chief Medical Officer at SGMC.
There are two different dose regimens. Those critically ill will receive a daily dose for 10 days. Those that are not on ventilators but still in bad shape, will receive a 5-day treatment.
The hospital received enough to treat 15 critical patients or 30 that are still significantly ill.
“This drug went through a clinical trial and what they found is that this drug did show benefits in as many as 30 percent of patients. That it decreased the duration and severity of their symptoms and there was a trend towards there being a decrease in mortality as well,” said Dr. Dawson.
Remdesivir was initially developed for use against Ebola several years ago but showed no benefits. Clinical trials for it were done in Georgia at Emory University Hospital. The use of this drug is still considered by the FDA as investigational.
The clinical team at SGMC will continue to follow patients’ progress and keep track of the data to share with the FDA and CDC.
“I think that over time we are going to see that this experience is going to help pull the health care system together and it can show just how quickly we cant mount a sizeable response to this kind of assault on our patient population, our communities,” said Dr. Dawson.
South Georgia Medical Center currently has eight Covid-19 patients hospitalized.