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SwedishAmerican treats first COVID-19 patient with Remdesivir

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — SwedishAmerican is now, sparsely, using the first drug that appears to help speed up the recovery of some of the most severely ill COVID-19 patients.

Doctors say the hospital received a call from FEMA on Saturday, and received Remdesivir early this week. One patient in the ICU is already undergoing treatment using the drug.

SwedishAmerican received enough to treat ten patients, but the hospital is not sure if it will receive more.

Doctors in the ICU say they will only use the drug for COVID-19 patients that are on a ventilator, which is a ten-day treatment using the drug.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Saturday that it is delivering 140 cases of the drug remdesivir to Illinois, 110 cases to New Jersey, 40 cases to Michigan, 30 cases each to Connecticut and Maryland and 10 cases to Iowa. Each case contains 40 vials of the drug, the department said in a statement.

It is not clear if any other hospitals in the Stateline were given Remdesivir.

The company that makes the antiviral drug, California-based Gilead Sciences, has said it is donating its entire current stockpile to help in the U.S. pandemic response.

Remdesivir was cleared for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration last week.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

James Stratton

James Stratton is the Evening Anchor at 13 WREX and reports for 13 Investigates He joined the team in August, 2018 after working at KWQC TV-6 in Davenport Iowa. His work in Illinois and Iowa has been awarded in both states, along with Edward R. Murrow and Emmy Awards at 13 WREX.

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