By Joshua Huff, sports editor
MONTGOMERY — The Alabama Department of Public Health announced on Monday that it has received the experimental drug remdesivir and has begun to send out the COVID-19 treatment to hospitals throughout the state.
The allotment of the drug was donated by Gilead Sciences, Inc., through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The department reported that one course of treatment will be sent to each Alabama hospital that has reported a patient eligible to receive the drug.
This follows the news that Gilead Sciences, Inc. will supply around 607,000 vials of the drug throughout the next six weeks to an estimated 78,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
“Although the total supply of remdesivir is limited, we are grateful that hospitalized COVID-19 patients with severe disease in Alabama can receive this potentially lifesaving medication,” State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said. “Because the quantity is limited, the physician members of the Governor’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force determined a formula to distribute the allotment equitably among the state’s hospitals.”
The donated doses of the treatment received an emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for COVID-19 patients in areas of the country hardest hit by the pandemic. Preliminary results suggested that remdesivir was associated with faster recovery, although the data was not sufficient to determine if the drug was associated with lower mortality.
The FDA granted the EUA on May 1 allowing remdesivir to be administered by healthcare providers to treat suspected or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in adults and children hospitalized with severe disease. Severe disease is defined as patients with low blood oxygen levels or needing oxygen therapy or more intensive breathing support such as a mechanical ventilator.