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PA hospitals will be sent drug to treat COVID-19

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The state Department of Health said Tuesday that it has received 1,200 doses of a drug with promise in alleviating COVID-19 and is sending it to 51 hospitals in Pennsylvania.

The hospitals that will receive the first shipments of remdesivir were determined based on the number of COVID-19 patients and the severity of those patients’ illnesses, the department said.

Remdesivir is given intravenously once a day for up to 10 days, the department said.

The Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for the drug after preliminary results from a government-sponsored study showed that remdesivir shortened the time to recovery by 31%, or about four days on average, for hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

The drug may also help avert deaths, but that effect is not yet large enough for scientists to know for sure.

No drugs are currently FDA-approved for treating COVID-19, and remdesivir will still need formal approval. The drug does have side effects, including potential liver inflammation.

Nonetheless, the National Institutes of Health’s Dr. Anthony Fauci has said remdesivir would become a new standard of care for severely ill COVID-19 patients.

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