PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon hospitals will be provided with an experimental drug that has shown some promise treating extreme cases of COVID-19, state health officials said Sunday.
The state’s first shipments of remdesivir will provide enough doses to treat 80 COVID-19 patients for 10 days which is enough to treat all hospitalized patients who met the medical criteria for using the drug as of Saturday, the Oregon Health Authority said Sunday.
Recent early results for the drug suggested it could help patients recover from the coronavirus faster, although longer-term data is still needed to confirm any benefit.
It has not been formally approved by the Food and Drug Administration but can be used under a federally issued Emergency Use Authorization. The health authority is not taking a position on whether it should be used or not, leaving that decision up to doctors and their patients.
“Because of the experimental nature of the drug, shared decision-making between patients and providers is paramount and informed consent must be obtained prior to its use,” Dr. Dana Hargunani, the state’s chief medical officer said.
The state expects to get more doses later but it does not know when or how much it will receive.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.