AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott today announced that the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is distributing seven additional cases of the antiviral drug remdesivir to five hospitals across the East Texas region to fight COVID-19.
These cases have been provided to DSHS through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This will bring the total number of cases distributed by DSHS to Texas hospitals to 484. Last week, DSHS distributed six initial cases across the East Texas region.
Counties included in this latest distribution are Gregg, Nacogdoches, and Smith.
“The Lone Star State continues to prioritize the health of our fellow Texans and ensure that medical providers across the state have the supplies needed to respond to COVID-19,” said Governor Abbott. “I am grateful to our partners at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for providing these cases of remdesivir to communities across the state of Texas. Texas will continue to act swiftly to provide for our hospitals, secure treatment for patients, and slow the spread of COVID-19.”
Remdesivir has shown promise in early trials in speeding up the recovery time among hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The medication is being distributed according to COVID hospitalizations at the county level to ensure it is getting to where it is most needed. Additionally, the powdered formulation allows for the treatment of pediatric patients, so children’s hospitals are included in the distribution.
DSHS reviewed the distribution methodology with the Infectious Disease Task Force Rapid Assessment Subcommittee, Texas Hospital Association, and the chair of the Texas Health Care Industry Strike Force on COVID-19. All three groups were supportive of the methodology as proposed with the data available.
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.