Covenant Health received Remdesivir to help treat COVID-19 patie - FOX34 Lubbock

Covenant Health received Remdesivir to help treat COVID-19 patients

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Covenant Health received two cases of Remdesivir this week to help treat COVID-19. Pharmacist, Larry Pineda said this antiviral drug is a step in the right direction.

"Remdesivir is the only medication right now that's showing promise for us or it's the most promising so far," Pineda said. "It's an antiviral that's administered intravenously, we don't have an oral option so it would have to be administered inside the hospital."

In a recent NIH trial, Remdesivir showed it could speed up recovery of patients with COVID-19.

"In the patients that got Remdesivir, they would recover in about 11 days and those that didn't get it recovered in about 15," Pineda said. "So that's a 31 percent faster time to recovery and that was good enough for the FDA to speed up the approval of this in an emergency use."

Remdesivir is normally used to treat Malaria, but Pineda explained how it works against COVID-19.

"It acts as like a fake building block, and so the virus uses this drug as it's building the genetic material," Pineda explained. "But it can't build upon it, so it stops the virus from making a copy of the genetic material."

Pineda also explained what it is not.

"It's not a definitive cure, it's not that silver bullet," Pineda said. "It did in that trial show suggestion that it could possibly improve mortality, but this is all preliminary data and we don't have the full data set just yet."

Pineda said he doesn't know if or when Lubbock will get more cases of the drug. The two cases Covenant currently has contain a combined 80 vials.

"That doesn't mean that's 80 patients we can use it on, because we use this anywhere from 5 days to 10 days," Pineda said. "In the most severe cases we will use it for 10 days, but for those moderate cases where we feel it's clinically appropriate to use the drug, we'll use it for about 5 days. For a 5 day treatment we would use 6 vials (per patient), and for a 10 day treatment we would use 11 vials."

Pineda said the main treatment for COVID-19 is still supportive care, but this drug is a tool that will be helpful to medical professionals.

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