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Texas distributing more remdesivir to hospitals in the Houston area to treat COVID-19 patients

The drug will be prioritized for hospitals with ICU beds that are treating critically ill patients, the state says.

HOUSTON — As concerns continue about the rise in coronvarius cases and the number of hospital beds available in Houston, some area hospitals will receive more doses of the antiviral drug remdesivir, Texas Governor Greg Abbott's office announced Tuesday.

State distributions of the drug, which has shown to help shorten the average recovery time from 15 days to 11 in early clinical trials, began last month in Southeast Texas.

The Texas Department of State Health Services is distributing 135 additional cases of remdesivir to 47 hospitals across the Greater Houston metropolitan area.

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"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," stated a press release from the governor's office.

Counties included in this latest distribution are:

  • BRAZORIA (3)
  • FORT BEND (7)
  • GALVESTON (13)
  • HARRIS (99)
  • JEFFERSON (5)
  • MONTGOMERY (6)
  • WALKER (2)
     *(Remdesivir cases)

More from The Texas Department of State Health Services:

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.