Governor Greg Abbott today announced that the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is distributing four additional cases of the antiviral drug remdesivir to three hospitals in Waco and Bell County.
These cases have been provided to DSHS through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This is the fifth round of distribution from the federal government. At 368 cases, enough to treat approximately 1,472 patients, this is the largest distribution so far and brings the total cases distributed to Texas hospitals by DSHS to 977.
"The Lone Star State is committed to providing our health professionals with the resources they need to care for Texans who contract COVID-19," said Governor Abbott. "Thanks to the continued assistance from our partners at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, hospitals across Texas remain equipped to respond to COVID-19. As we continue in our efforts to combat this virus, the state of Texas remains committed to prioritizing the health and safety of our communities."
Remdesivir has shown promise in early trials in speeding up the recovery time among hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Using a five-day average of hospitalization data, DSHS used county weighting of the number of COVID positive patients in hospitals to determine the number of remdesivir cases per county.
Children's hospitals are eligible this round due to the powder formulation of the medication. Additionally, because use of a limited supply is prioritized towards severely ill patients in facilities with ICUs, hospitals without ICU beds were excluded from the distribution
Medical staff at each hospital will determine how the drug will be used, though it must be prescribed in accordance with the Food and Drug Administration’s Emergency Use Authorization, allowing for the treatment of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 in adults and children hospitalized with severe disease, such as those in intensive care. Preliminary results from a clinical trial showed the average recovery time among patients who received remdesivir was 11 days versus 15 days with a placebo.
The supply is part of a donation from drug maker Gilead.
Counties included in this distribution are: