Governor Greg Abbott today announced that the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is distributing additional cases of the antiviral drug remdesivir to 85 hospitals across 34 counties in Texas.
These cases have been provided to DSHS through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. DSHS will allocate 125 total cases of the liquid-form of remdesivir across the state, enough to treat approximately 500 patients. This is the fourth round of distribution total from the federal government, and will bring the total number of cases distributed by DSHS to Texas hospitals to 609.
"By allocating additional cases of remdesivir to communities across the state, Texas is prioritizing the health and recovery of our fellow Texans," said Governor Abbott. "It is imperative that we continue to equip Texas medical providers with the supplies they need to respond to COVID-19, and I am grateful to our partners at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for their continued assistance in providing cases of remedisivir."
Remdesivir has shown promise in early trials in speeding up the recovery time among hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The medication is being distributed by DSHS according to COVID-19 hospitalizations data to better target areas of need, which also includes state owned hospitals. Using a five-day average of hospitalization data from May 25th through May 29th, DSHS used county weighting of the number of COVID positive patients in hospitals to determine the number of Remdesivir cases per county. The number of Remdesivir cases each hospital will receive is allocated based on the hospitalized COVID positive patients in their hospital and county allocation.
DSHS confirmed that military and VA hospitals will receive remdesivir directly and are therefore excluded from this distribution methodology. Additionally, because use of a limited supply is prioritized towards severely ill patients in facilities with ICUs, hospitals without ICU beds were excluded from the distribution. The liquid-form of remdesivir cannot be used for children, which also excludes children's hospitals from this distribution.
Medical staff at each hospital will determine how the drug will be used, though it must be prescribed in accordance with the Food and Drug Administration’s Emergency Use Authorization, allowing for the treatment of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 in adults and children hospitalized with severe disease, such as those in intensive care. Preliminary results from a clinical trial showed the average recovery time among patients who received remdesivir was 11 days versus 15 days with a placebo. The supply is part of a donation from drug maker Gilead.