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UMC turns to anti-viral drug remdesivir to treat virus patients

A vial of Gilead's remdesivir drug.

EL PASO, Texas -- The antiviral medication remdesivir is on the way to El Paso and will soon be used by the staff at University Medical Center.

Preliminary data from clinical trials has shown remdesivir’s ability to cut down on recovery time in Covid-19 patients.

“There is a use for it that will be appropriate for some patients, but others will not benefit so much," said Dr. Armando Meza, chief of infectious diseases at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. "This is not a cure at all, but there will be a maximum benefit to those who need it.”

Dr. Meza said remdesivir has shown more promise than other previously touted drugs.

“Medications that have been used including chloroquine are not directly blocking the virus but remdesivir is blocking an enzyme that has to do with the multiplication of the virus," he said.

As remdesivir is set to arrive at UMC, physicians there are currently working out who will get this drug once it arrives.

“What the hospitals need to do is work on a protocol that is integrated into the treatment," said Dr. Meza. "This is always a hard decision to make but the science is what is going to back you up.”

Gilead Sciences, which produces remdesivir, is currently looking to boost its production, as hospitals across the nation struggle to get more of the drug for their patients.

And on Tuesday, ABC-7 received official word from University Medical Center about the shipment of remdesivir now heading El Paso's way.

"We can confirm that we are on the list of hospitals to receive a limited amount of remdesivir, enough to treat 8 to 10 patients. Our physician team is currently confirming protocols for use of this anti-viral treatment," UMC said in a statement to ABC-7.

Coronavirus / Coronavirus Video / El Paso / News / Top Stories / Video

Michael Gordon

Michael Gordon is an ABC-7 reporter who co-anchors Good Morning El Paso weekends.



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