Saint Luke's Health System doctor weighs in on remdesivir

Coronavirus COVID-19
Posted at 6:59 PM, Oct 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-26 19:59:50-04

KANSAS CITY, MO. — A drug that was used to treat President Donald Trump in his battle with COVID-19 needs more testing to determine its long-term effectiveness, according to a Saint Luke's Health System doctor.

The Federal Drug Administration on Thursday approved remdesivir, an anti-viral drug, to treat some COVID-19 patients.

"That initial trial looked really at improvement in symptoms, and symptoms seemed to be better with [the] remdesivir group," Dr. Sarah Boyd, who specializes in infectious diseases, said. "The 28-day mortality, or who died from COVID-19, really didn't change with that initial trial."

A U.S. National Institutes of Health study found that remdesivir reduced the recovery time for COVID-19 patients from 15 days to 10 days.

The drug is available to hospitals, and doctors across the country are using it to treat coronavirus patients, including those at Saint Luke's Health System. But there are limits on who can be treated.

"So it's hospitalized COVID patients is how the FDA approval came," Boyd said, "and we typically were using it in patients who required oxygen and were hospitalized."

Patients must also be at least 12 year old and weigh at least 88 pounds. Any exceptions must receive specials exemption to be treated with the anti-viral drug.

With some schools returning to in-person learning, along with the approaching holidays and the election next Tuesday, Boyd said it's important to follow social distancing guidelines, wear a mask and wash your hands often to reduce the risk of being diagnosed with COVID-19 and requiring treatment.