Green Bay – HSHS St. Vincent Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Center in Green Bay are among hospitals across Wisconsin to receive remdesivir, an antiviral drug for the treatment of COVID-19.
On May 1, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved remdesivir for emergency use in hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19 and relying on oxygen therapy or more intensive breathing support such as a mechanical ventilator. The antiviral drug is administered intravenously.
“This is the only drug that is proven to have a direct, antiviral effect on COVID-19,” said Dr. Manar Alshahrouri, a Prevea Health critical care physician and pulmonologist caring for patients with COVID-19 at HSHS St. Vincent and St. Mary’s Hospitals. “It interferes with the virus’ ability to replicate itself.”
A clinical trial sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases indicated patients who received remdesivir recovered from COVID-19 more quickly (11 vs.15 days) than those who received a placebo.
The federal government received 607,000 vials of remdesivir from Gilead Sciences and is in the process of distributing the limited the supply to state health departments across the country. HSHS St. Vincent and St. Mary’s Hospitals have received enough remdesivir from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to treat a total of seven patients.
“While our supply is limited, we now have direct access to this breakthrough treatment and are able to administer it to some of our most critically ill patients immediately,” said Dr. Alshahrouri.
HSHS St. Vincent and St. Mary’s Hospitals are also providing another leading-edge treatment to patients critically-ill with COVID-19: convalescent plasma.
Convalescent plasma is derived from blood donated by those who have recovered from COVID-19 and have developed antibodies to the disease. It is shown to help boost a patient’s ability to fight the virus.
A total of 33 patients have received convalescent plasma at HSHS St. Vincent and St. Mary’s Hospitals since late April. The hospitals receive the plasma as part of the Expanded Access to Convalescent Plasma for the Treatment of Patients with COVID-19 program, led by Mayo Clinic.