19 News explains: What is remdesivir?

President Trump is taking the antiviral drug.

19 News explains: What is remdesivir?

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - President Donald Trump’s physician Dr. Sean Conley told the world the president is taking remdesivir late Friday night.

The anti-viral drug is used to treat COVID-19, and the FDA approved remdesivir for emergency use, which now includes all patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

Doctor Amy Edwards an Infectious Disease Specialist with University Hospital here in Cleveland says you really shouldn’t try to compare President Trump’s treatment plan with anyone else’s, "I think a lot of people are looking at President Trump getting this drug and that drug and they’re wondering why everybody is not doing that? We can’t really say whether these interventions are helping President Trump or they’re doing them out of an abundance of caution because he’s the President and we have to keep him healthy.”

Remdesivir is currently being studied in the treatment of COVID-19 in clinical trials, and it has been found to shorten the duration of the disease from 15 to 11 days in hospitalized patients. The FDA initially recommended that it only be used for those hospitalized with the virus, and using some form of breathing apparatus. But according to the president’s doctors he has had no serious breathing issues.

The drug is administered intravenously and in two courses depending on the severity of the disease.

Patients will receive either a 5-day (6-dose) course, or a 10-day (11-dose) course, as clinically indicated. President Trump is currently receiving a 5-day regimen according to his doctor. And even though his doctors and the White House have said his condition is mild, he’s also receiving steroids which physicians say are normally reserved for people with more moderate to severe symptoms.

“That’s a little confusing to me because generally we reserve dexamethasone for people who are like moderate to severe with COVID-19. There’s no evidence it helps people with mild COVID. Both doctors and the White House keep saying he’s mild, and doing very well which I’m thrilled to hear, but then not sure why they’re using dexamethasone. But I’m not at Walter Reed, can’t look at his charts, his blood work, they may know something they’re not saying about it."

Dr. Edward’s says she’s not surprised the president’s doctors are using remdesivir, “His doctors have been fairly aggressive from the beginning. So it doesn’t surprise me. The bigger question of course is whether it’s helping or not and it’s impossible to know. I’m not surprised that they’re trying a little bit of everything.”

President Trump tweeted out a video of himself from the hospital in a suit praising the medical staff at Walter Reed Hospital.

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