Second shipment of COVID-19 drug heading to Georgia hospitals

Georgia health officials are distributing a second shipment of the experimental COVID-19 drug Remdesivir to hospitals across the state.

The Department of Public Health said that they will distribute enough doses of the drug to treat over 300 patients to 29 hospitals.

Remdesivir is an antiviral medicine originally developed to fight Ebola that is now being used to treat patients hospitalized with serious COVID-19 symptoms, like low oxygen levels or pneumonia.

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In a study of over 1,000 patients sick enough to be hospitalized, the drug, created by Gilead Sciences, reduced recovery time by 31% — 11 days on average versus 15 days for those just given usual care, officials said. The drug also might be reducing deaths, although that’s not certain from the partial results revealed so far.

Officials say the drug will be distributed to hospitals who reported 10 or more COVID-19 patients who are on ventilators or who are being treated with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), a machine that takes over the work of the heart and lungs.

Georgia will be distributing an experimental COVID-19 drug to nearly 30 hospitals in the state.

MORE: Officials distributing experimental COVID-19 drug to Georgia hospitals

This second shipment, which comes after a shipment to 10 hospitals last Saturday, will focus on hospitals with the Navicent, Northside, Piedmont, and WellStar healthcare systems.

A third shipment of the drug was expected to arrive in Georgia on Friday. In this shipment, officials say the drug will be in powder form, which can be used in children and will provide treatment for the state's youngest COVID-19 patients.

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