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Department of Health distributes fifth shipment of drug to help treat COVID-19 patients in hospitals

The Department of Health distributed the fifth shipment of the investigational antiviral medication, remdesivir, to treat patients in the hospital with COVID-19. Yesterday, 4,788 doses of medication were sent to 82 hospitals, including St. Mary Medical Center, Doylestown Hospital and St. Luke’s Hospital - Bethlehem. The federal government distributed the shipment to the department on Wednesday, June 17.

“The department is working to give our hospitals every opportunity to treat patients with COVID-19,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “It is important to note that there is limited information on the safety and effectiveness of using remdesivir to treat people in the hospital with COVID-19. However, it was shown in a clinical trial to shorten the recovery time in some people, which is why the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the emergency use of the medication for treatment.”

The Department of Health first distributed 1,200 doses of the medication to 51 hospitals across Pennsylvania on May 12. A second round of 7,938 doses were sent to 79 hospitals on May 15 and May 18, a third round of 8,928 doses was distributed to 81 hospitals on May 22 and a fourth round of 4,400 doses was distributed to 73 hospitals on June 3.

The hospitals that have received these shipments were determined based on the number and severity of COVID-19 patients at the hospital and the facility’s documented usage of previous rounds of remdesivir. The department will continue to work with federal partners to acquire more doses of this medication to serve more patients across Pennsylvania.

Remdesivir is given to a patient through an IV once per day for up to 10 days, depending on how critically ill the patient is. According to the FDA, remdesivir may help decrease the amount of coronavirus in your body, which may help you get better faster.