Gov. Greg Abbott announced Wednesday that five hospitals in four East Texas counties, including Gregg County, will be receiving six cases of the antiviral drug remdesivir, a medicine that can speed recovery from COVID-19.
Gregg, Harrison and Angelina counties are receiving one case each, while Smith County is receiving three cases, according to Abbott’s announcement.
The cases of remdesivir were given to the Texas Department of State Health Services through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Last week, the state health department sent 30 cases of remdesivir that came from the federal government to 15 hospitals throughout the state.
Christus Mother Frances Hospital Tyler was among those first 15 hospitals and the only one in East Texas.
“The state of Texas is working swiftly to ensure our hospitals and medical providers have the resources they need to treat patients diagnosed with COVID-19,” Abbott said. “I thank our partners at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for sending these cases of remdesivir to the state of Texas. Not only will this drug treat patients throughout the state, but it will especially bolster our mitigation and treatment efforts in communities experiencing surges in COVID-19 cases.”
Remdesivir has demonstrated promise in early trials to shorten the recovery time for those hospitalized from COVID-19. Results from a clinical trial show the average recovery time of those receiving remdesivir decreased from 15 to 11 days.
The distribution of the drug is based on the number of patients in the hospital and intensive care in each hospital region. Within those regions, allocations are determined by the number of intensive care beds.
The state health department consulted with the Texas Hospital Association, Texas Medical Association and the Rapid Assessment Subcommittee of the Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response regarding the remdesivir distribution rationale.
Medical staff at each hospital is responsible for deciding how the drug will be used. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Emergency Use Authorization allows for its use in the treatment of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 in adults and children hospitalized with severe disease.