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Ohio receives drug to help fight COVID-19; to be distributed to about 100 patients statewide

The state has received an allotment of 20 cases of remdesivir from the federal government

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio has received a limited amount of remdesivir from the federal government which will be distributed across the state through the efforts of the Ohio Department of Health and Ohio Hospital Association.

According to a release from ODH, the state received an allotment of 20 cases of the drug on Tuesday, which is estimated for about 100 patients.

The Food and Drug Administration earlier this month issued an Emergency Use Authorization for remdesivir to allow it to be administered to patients.

It is currently being studied in treatment of COVID-19 in clinical trials and has been found to shorten the duration of disease from 15 to 11 days in patients being treated in-patient hospital settings.

ODH says while clinical trials indicate that the use of remdesivir has shortened the recovery time, it has not yet been approved by the FDA as a treatment for COVID-19 despite the Emergency Use Authoritzation.

The distribution of the drug in Ohio has been decided by clinical leaders of the geographical zones created to help the state's pandemic response. The decision was based on the percentage of mechanically ventilated patients; which deems them to have the highest severity level.

“This is not a cure, but early signs indicate that it can help in the treatment of COVID-19,” said ODH Director Dr. Amy Acton in the release. “Ohio’s allocation is not enough to treat all patients, so we are working with medical experts to ensure distribution is based on clinical best practices.”

Remdesivir is administered in two courses depending on the severity of disease. Patients will receive either a 5-day course or a 10-day course.

ODH says individual hospitals will be responsible for using clinical justification on distribution of the medication to specific patients. If the number of patients in need of remdesivir exceeds the supply of the medication, ODH says hospitals will use internal processes appropriate for the allocation of scarce resources.

“Ohio hospitals are committed to providing care and services to ensure the health and safety of our communities,” said Mike Abrams, President and CEO, Ohio Hospital Association in the release. “We appreciate the efforts of our policymakers and state leaders to secure resources and treatment to help in the delivery of care for patients impacted by COVID-19.”

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