ODESSA, Texas (Big 2/Fox 24) – As numbers of COVID-19 hospitalizations surge, so are the levels of concern for healthcare professionals fighting in the front lines. Some relief came from the capitol this weekend though, as Governor Greg Abbott distributed five new cases of the antiviral drug, Remdesivir, to three Midland-Odessa hospitals. Medical Center Hospital’s Chief Medical Officer, Donald Davenport, says this shipment could help over a dozen lives at MCH.
“We have no good treatment options for this virus,” explained Davenport. “We’re seeing a much more of a gambit of younger individuals, anywhere from 20 up to 70, 80, 90 now… And they’re all really sick.”
As more doctors and nurses are exposed to the virus themselves, only a handful of them are left behind at the hospital units with strained resources. This distribution of Remdesivir from the federal government would be the sixth of its kind, and while the largest, it may not be enough as doctors go through them quickly. Medical Center Hospital alone received 86 vials of the drug on Sunday. The hospital says it is expected to treat only about 14 patients with six doses each.
“It really blocks the synthesis of the RNA within the virus so it can’t replicate on itself,” explained Davenport. “And so by halting that, it allows our immune system to fight the virus.”
Doctors are clinging onto the drug, as Remdesivir has shown promise in early trials in speeding up the recovery time among hospitalized COVID-19 patients. It is most effective when used within the first ten days of infection, but because most people do not show symptoms early on, it is not always dependable for patients who have progressed much further.
Davenport says while resuming life is necessary, the real culprit is our false sense of security.
“It’s been pretty strenuous on the hospital itself. What we’re asking is just for people to help us,” said Davenport. “If we’ve done what we’ve previously done, not wear masks and have socialization, which we expect, then we’ll probably have another spike in the next week, two weeks, three weeks down the road.”