Use of remdesivir for COVID-19 treatment yields encouraging results in De Oro hospital
CAGAYAN DE ORO—The Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC), one of the biggest hospitals in Mindanao, has started administering the antiviral drug remdesivir on critically-ill COVID-19 patients here and has been getting good results, a health official said.
Dr. Bernard Rocha, NMMC spokesperson, said the NMMC was among the few hospitals which had purchased the hard-to-find drug touted to have shown positive results in treating COVID-19 patients.
“We are administering the drug to COVID-19 patients who are in critical condition and have gotten positive results,” Rocha said at the daily press briefing at the Cagayan de Oro City Hall on Monday (July 6).
NMMC officials said it had purchased the “expensive” drug first reported to have positive effects on COVID-19 patients.
Rocha said remdesivir, which had been originally developed to treat ebola, was the only treatment that showed promise in speeding up recovery time of severely ill COVID-19 patients.
But Rocha did not say how many patients had been administered with remdesivir at the hospital.
At earlier press briefings, Rocha said the state-owned hospital had already “improved very much” their treatment of COVID-19 patients.
The hospital, which is the main treatment center for COVID-19 in Northern Mindanao, had only six coronavirus deaths since March.
The New York Times reported that remdesivir was being sold at $390 per intravenous vial or $2,340 per treatment for governments needing the drug.
A brand of remdesivir is manufactured by Gilead Sciences, Inc., an American biopharmaceutical company based in Foster City, California.
Although the antiviral drug was not successful in treating ebola, studies conducted on animals showed its “inhibitory” effects in fighting SARS and MERS, diseases which are considered to be the cousins of COVID-19.
This led Western scientists to believe the drug could help fight COVID-19. The drug is already being sold in the United States but the Philippines’ Department of Health (DOH) had earlier said there was nothing conclusive yet about its curative effects on COVID-19 patients.
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