Ohio receives remdesivir to be distributed statewide for COVID-19 treatment


FILE – In this March 2020 photo provided by Gilead Sciences, rubber stoppers are placed onto filled vials of the investigational drug remdesivir at a Gilead manufacturing site in the United States. Given through an IV, the medication is designed to interfere with an enzyme that reproduces viral genetic material. (Gilead Sciences via AP)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) – The Ohio Department of Health announced Wednesday that they, along with the Ohio Hospital Association, are working together to distribute remdesivir across Ohio that they received from the federal government on May 12.

Emergency Use Authorization for remdesivir was issued by the FDA to allow it to be administered to patients.

Remdesivir is being studied in the treatment of COVID-19 patients in clinical trials and has been found to shorten the duration of the disease from 15 to 11 days in patients who are being treated in-patient hospital settings.

The 20 cases allotted for Ohio is estimated for about 100 patients.

“This is not a cure, but early signs indicate that it can help in the treatment of COVID-19,” said ODH Director Amy Acton, M.D., MPH. “Ohio’s allocation is not enough to treat all patients, so we are working with medical experts to ensure distribution is based on clinical best practices.”

Remdesivir is given intravenously, and depending on the severity of the disease, may be administered in two courses. Patients will receive either a 5-day (6 dose) course or a 10-day (11 dose) course.

“Ohio hospitals are committed to providing care and services to ensure the health and safety of our communities,” said Mike Abrams, President and CEO, Ohio Hospital Association. “We appreciate the efforts of our policymakers and state leaders to secure resources and treatment to help in the delivery of care for patients impacted by COVID-19.”

Individual hospitals will be responsible for using clinical justification on distribution of the medication to specific patients. If the number of patients in need of remdesivir exceeds the supply of medication, hospitals will need to use an internal process appropriate for allocating these scarce resources.

Clinical trials indicate that using remdesivir has shortened the recovery time for some coronavirus patients, but the medication has not yet been approved by the FDA as an official treatment. The Emergency Use Authorization is based on the nature of the pandemic, its impact on the population, and the fact that there is no adequate, approved, and available alternative to the emergency use of remdesivir for treating COVID-19.

How to distribute the drug was determined by clinical leaders of geographical zones in the state that were created to help Ohio with pandemic response. These decision-makers include clinicians, pharmacists, public health officials, policymakers, ethicists, and those of other health disciplines.

The decision was based on the percentage of mechanically ventilated patients, which deems them to be of the highest severity level.

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