BRYAN, TX — As the science community continues to work on a COVID-19 vaccine, a Texas A&M chemist was the first to I.D. the drug Remdesivir that is now in Texas hospitals as the most effective treatment option.
The drug Remdesivir has shown promise of speeding up the recovery time among hospitalized COVID-19 patients, according to
Wenshe Ray Liu, a chemical biologist at Texas A&M University.
"One of the criteria that I focused on is really the recovery time. So for those patients who really received the placebo they are out of ICU in 15 days," explains Liu. "Those patients who use the Remdesivir, they are out of the ICU in 11 days, so their improvement is quite significant."
Since its distribution to Texas hospitals, Infectious Disease Physician Dr. Ricardo Lemos at CHI St. Joseph in Bryan says they've seen success.
"I know that the patient that received it, she was out of the intensive care unit in one or two days and she is doing very well."
Dr. Lemos says that until using Remdesivir, working with the coronavirus was comparable to the early days of HIV.
"It kind of reminds me of those days where you had nothing to offer those patients," says Lemos.
As the first promising drug to combat the virus, scientists are warning that supplies are limited, so it's only being used on patients with severe symptoms.
But there is a concern.
"I understand the drug itself is not easy to make," says Liu.
Until the drug is readily available for all, doctors will carefully monitor patients to determine treatment.
Liu says scientists at A&M and across the country are continuing to research other drugs to combat COVID-19, and he is optimistic that by the end of the year there will be multiple treatment options.