WV receives drug to help treat severe COVID-19 cases

West Virginia

FILE – In this March 2020 photo provided by Gilead Sciences, a vial of the investigational drug remdesivir is visually inspected 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)

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – West Virginia Governor Jim Justice says the Mountain State has received a shipment of remdesivir from the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

Remdesivir is a drug produced by a company called Gilead. The company donated supplies of the drug to the US government to help treat those critically ill with COVID-19.

“I want to personally thank our president for allowing us to have some of this potentially life-saving drug,” Justice says.

Dr. Cathy Slemp with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources says the Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for remdesivir to treat patients with severe suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19. Slemp says at this time there is no indication for using the drug in mild or moderate cases, but there are clinical trials to see if this would benefit these cases as well.

Slemp says the WV DHHR, Bureau of Public Health received an allotment of the drug and worked with healthcare experts across the state to develop a statewide protocol for distribution and use. The remdesivir has now been distributed to hospitals for seriously ill COVID-19 patients.

“While there is really a lot yet to learn about the effectiveness of remdesivir, it is good to have one more tool in our toolbox for use in seriously ill patients,” Slemp says. “We wanted to make sure that facilities and providers are aware of the protocol and the product, so we have sent that out to providers across the state and to hospitals across the state as well.”

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