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Mary Lanning Healthcare tries new drug to treat some critical COVID-19 patients

Published: Jul. 30, 2020 at 3:14 PM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - New treatment is now available to some COVID-19 patients in the Mary Lanning ICU. It is a medication created to battle a different virus but is showing positive results.

The drug called Remdesivir was previously used for the Ebola virus. In May, the federal government recently approved it to be used in emergency situations during the pandemic. The drug was not as helpful for Ebola patients. Doctors at Mary Lanning said it is normal for antiviral drugs to be repurposed. Hastings only recently acquired the drug and has only used it on one patient.

“Essentially it shortens the length of the disease as well as the severity of it,” hospitalist Scott Gordon said.

A 47-year-old man in critical condition was given the drug. Five days later he was released from the hospital.

“He was certainly very sick when he came in and was following the course that we tend to see in these otherwise healthy patients who go downhill very quickly and ultimately don’t have a good outcome,” Gordon said.

Not everyone will be able to take this drug. It could have side effects on people with liver disease or taking certain medications. There is also a small supply so doctors have to decide if it really would benefit a patient.

“There’s a very fine middle ground where there are patients on their own who may not have otherwise had a good outcome but they’re not so sick that the medication can’t help them,” Gordon said.

Doctors said it is not a cure for COVID-19 but something helpful to treat the very sick. They said the best method still is to prevent the spread of the virus to reduce the number of people who would need the drug. While they only have limited amounts of this new drug they are going to be keeping it in their tool kit to help any future patients who come through the ICU and meet the criteria.

Copyright 2020 KSNB. All rights reserved.

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