AUSTIN, Texas — Gov. Greg Abbott's office announced in a press release Saturday that the Texas Department of State Health Services is distributing a case of the antiviral drug, remdesivir, to Shannon Medical Center in San Angelo.
The case has been provided to DSHS through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is the sixth round of distribution from the federal government. At 448 cases, the release said this is the largest distribution and is enough to treat approximately 1,792 patients, bringing the state total to 1,425 cases distributed since May 12.
“As Texas faces an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, we remain committed to providing healthcare professionals with the resources they need to respond to this surge and support COVID-19 patients,” Gov. Abbott said the press release. “The State of Texas is grateful to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for their continued assistance to equip Texas hospitals with Remdesivir. As we continue to combat the virus, Texas remains committed to keeping our communities healthy and safe.”
Remdesivir has shown promise in early trials in speeding up the recovery time among hospitalized COVID-19 patients, the release said. 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 because of the powder formulation of the medication.
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.