Memphis COVID patient said to be improving after receiving Remdesivir

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis patient may be the first person in the area to receive Remdesivir, an experimental anti-viral drug recently approved by the FDA for treatment of COVID-19.

Dr. Steve Threlkeld, an infectious disease specialist at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis, confirmed Thursday that a critically ill female patient at Baptist was completing a course of the drug.

He said the patient is “doing better” after seven days of treatment with Remdesivir. The patient has received several other treatments in addition to the drug.

Remdesivir is the first authorized therapy drug for COVID-19 in the United States. The FDA issued an emergency-use authorization, saying the benefits of the drug outweigh its risks in patients. An emergency-use authorization is a lower regulatory bar than full FDA approval.

“Remdesivir is the one drug that has been shown to at least be, in part, effective,” Threlkeld said. “It wasn’t quite a slam dunk or a home run … but it did seem to shorten the duration of infection in folks that were tested.”

The Remdesivir doses are apportioned by Vanderbilt University’s medical center, Threlkeld said. As far as he was aware, the patient is the first in the Memphis area to receive it.

Baptist Memorial Hospital plans on requesting more doses of the medication, he said. There is a limited supply, and Threlkeld said patients would have to meet certain specifications to qualify.

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