New drug being used at Baptist Memorial to treat COVID-19

New drug being used at Baptist Memorial to treat COVID-19

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - As scientists and doctors work on creating a vaccine for COVID-19, one drug called Remdesivir has shown promising signs in helping patients recover from the virus.

Baptist Memorial Hospital's infectious disease expert, Dr. Steve Threlkeld, says the antiviral medication is giving doctors hope in developing a usable treatment for COVID-19 patients.

"It has been shown to at least be in part effective. It was quite a slam dunk or a home run, depending on your analogy, but it did seem to shorten the duration of infection,” said Threlkeld.

In a more than 1,000 patient study conducted by Vanderbilt University, Remdesivir helped shorten recovery time by 31-percent and lowered the mortality rate for COVID-19 patients from 11-percent to 8-percent.

"Very encouraging that that medicine worked and we actually started a medication, now I think it's day seven on a patient here at the hospital,” said Threlkeld.

The Federal Drug Administration has given Remdesivir emergency use authorization to treat COVID-19.

Earlier this week, Dr. Threlkeld said a critically ill woman at Baptist was receiving Remdesivir and showed signs of improvement.

"She’s doing better. Certainly, the course of Remdesivir seems to have gone well,” said Threlkeld.

Remdesivir is in short supply nationwide.

Vanderbilt University is in charge of allocating the drug in Tennessee.

"There are not that many doses that are available and that's why you have to be careful and make sure that it's a patient that fits the criteria that they might benefit from the drug,” said Threlkeld.

According to Dr. Threlkeld, some of that criteria is a normal liver and kidney function because the drug can harm those organs.

Dr. Threlkeld said they plan to apply for more Remdesivir as needed to help local patients.

Copyright 2020 WMC. All rights reserved.