St. Mary Medical Center Gets Remdesivir For COVID-19 Treatment
St. Mary Medical Center is one of two Bucks County hospitals to receive remdesivir, an existing antiviral medication that has shown some positive signs in shortening recovery times for COVID-19 patients.
According to data from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, St. Mary Medical Center will receive 36 vials of remdesivir. The hospital said they expect to receive the remdesivir in the coming days.
Only 51 hospitals in the state have been approved to receive the drug. Doylestown Hospital is the only other hospital, aside from St. Mary Mary Medical Center, in the county that will receive the drug, which has received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The state allotted the first shipments of remdesivir based on the COVID-19 cases at hospitals over a seven-day period and the severity of those cases and how many of those cases required use of a ventilator.
Over a seven-day period, St. Mary Medical Center in Middletown Township reported an average of 68 COVID-19 patients and six with the virus on ventilators. Doylestown Hospital had an average of 31 COVID-19 patients and five on ventilators.
“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 FDA has authorized the emergency use of the medication for treatment,” state Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said.
Trinity Health Mid-Atlantic, the operator of St. Mary Medical Center and other hospitals in the region, said the drug will be used for a clinical protocol trial for a “number of critically ill patients.”
“We are grateful to have the opportunity to participate in this Expanded Access Protocol and provide possible treatment to some of our most in need patients,” said Dr. Sharon Carney, senior vice president and chief clinical officer for Trinity Health Mid-Atlantic.
The office of Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, a Republican from Middletown, said the state received 30 cases of the potentially lifesaving drug from the federal stockpile on Tuesday.
A bipartisan group of officials who represent Bucks County on the local, state, and federal levels asked the state in a letter for “full and fair consideration” when allotting the drug to local hospitals.
Remdesivir was created by Gilead Sciences in 2009 as the company developed medications to fight hepatitis C. Research found the drug was unable to be used in that line of treatment, but it was noted to have some impact on helping Ebola patients and also worked as a treatment for several viruses.
Weeks ago, some politicians, the president, and talk show hosts rallied around the potential use of antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19. A recent study showed the drug alone appears to not have a significant benefit and federal authorities warned it could cause heart issues.
Treatments for COVID-19 are not cures or will prevent the virus. No medical treatment should be undertaken without advice from a doctor.