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San Antonio – A local clinic hopes to get remdisivir, the FDA-approved treatment option for COVID-19, approved for use outside of the hospital setting.
“We want to be able to have this treatment available to people as soon as they get sick, so we can actually prevent them from needing to go to the hospital,” said Dr. Erika Gonzalez, CEO of the South Texas Allergy and Asthma Medical Professionals or STAAMP Allergy.
Currently, remedisivir is being used as a treatment for COVID-19 patients only in the hospital.
“Remdesivir is an antiviral drug, meaning it’s something that specifically fights viruses. We’ve had this around for a long time. Previously, it was used for treatment of Hepatitis C. They used it in Ebola. They also used it when SARS came out. And so we know it works well with some viruses to prevent it from replicating,” Gonzalez said.
STAAMP Allergy is conducting a study focused on learning more about remdesivir.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the drug as a treatment for COVID-19 in October.
“It’s approved to be used in a hospital, so now they’re trying to get to the approval so that it can be used outside of the hospital setting,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said there are about 60 sites across the United States participating in the study.
“We’re trying to identify people who have tested positive for coronavirus, who may have some type of risk factor, so that can be anything from obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, any chronic condition. If you’re older than 60, that already qualifies you as higher risk,” Gonzalez said.
The clinical trial is being sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Gonzalez said other studies show the drug has been helping patients.
“It does reduce the length of either hospitalization stay or treatment progression of symptoms almost by about a week. So we are seeing people, especially if they were intubated, have a shorter amount of periods of requiring to be on the ventilator if they are giving this treatment,” Gonzalez said.
The trial is free to patients who participate.
Gonzalez said they will monitor people who participate in the study for at least six months.