LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Remdesivir, a drug that recently received FDA emergency use authorization, is being used to treat COVID-19 patients in Lexington-area hospitals.
Infectious disease specialist and hospital epidemiologist, Dr. Charles Kennedy, said he's involved in treating about a dozen of those patients.
"I think Remdesivir basically has the potential to be a really important therapeutic intervention," Kennedy said.
He said of all the patients he knows of that have been treated with the drug in Lexington, none have died.
However, he said it is important to realize that the patients have also been on other treatments at the same time, so it's too soon to determine the role Remdesivir has played.
Currently, the drug is not widely available, but Kennedy said the FDA approval did have a positive impact on accessibility.
"We don't have an inventory of the drug, either at Saint Joseph or Baptist Health, at this point in time, but we do have a much higher probability of procuring it in a more timely fashion to help those patients who are most critically ill," Kennedy said.
He said for families who have loved ones who are hospitalized, they should be cautiously optimistic about the drug.
Kennedy said he is especially excited for the results of ongoing studies, which are trying to learn whether the drug can be helpful for patients who have mild to moderate symptoms.
"I, with the majority of my colleagues, are reasonably hopeful and optimistic that early administration of Remdesivir will actually have a benefit in not only reducing mortality but reducing the progression to both respiratory and multiple organ system failure," Kennedy said.
Remdesivir was developed by Gilead Sciences in California. Currently, it is only being used to treat critically ill patients.
Studies are still being conducted on the drug to determine its value as a COVID-19 treatment.