Texas DSHS to distribute 28 cases of remdesivir to 10 Austin area hospitals


In this March 2020 photo provided by Gilead Sciences, a vial of the investigational drug remdesivir is visually inspected at a Gilead manufacturing site in the United States. Given through an IV, the medication is designed to interfere with an enzyme that reproduces viral genetic material. (Gilead Sciences via AP)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Department of State Health Services is expected to distribute 28 cases of remdesivir, an antiviral drug used to help treat the coronavirus, to ten Austin area hospitals.

The medicine has proven to speed up recovery time among hospitalized COVID-19 patients in early trials.

“As Texas faces an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, we remain committed to providing healthcare professionals with the resources they need to respond to this surge and support COVID-19 patients,” said Gov. Greg Abbott in a release from his office.

The cases of the drug have been provided to the DSHS through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as part of a donation from drug maker Gilead.

“The State of Texas is grateful to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for their continued assistance to equip Texas hospitals with Remdesivir,” Abbott said.

Counties included are:

  • 2 hospitals in Hays County
  • 20 hospitals in Travis County
  • 6 hospitals in Williamson County

This is the sixth round of distribution of the drug from the federal government. This is the largest distribution at 448 cases, and the release said it is enough to treat approximately 1,792 patients. This brings the state total to 1,425 cases distributed since May 12.

Using a five-day average of hospitalization data, DSHS officials used county weighting of the number of COVID-19 positive patients in hospitals to determine the number of remdesivir cases that would be distributed per county. Children’s hospitals are eligible to receive the medicine due to its powder formula.

“As we continue to combat the virus, Texas remains committed to keeping our communities healthy and safe,” said Abbott.

Medical staff at each hospital will determine how the medication will be used, though it must be prescribed in accordance with the Food and Drug Administration’s Emergency Use Authorization. That use allows for treatment of suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in adults and children hospitalized with severe disease, including those that are in intensive care.

Preliminary results from a clinical trial showed the average recovery time for patients who received remdesivir was 11 days versus 15 days with a placebo.

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