UAB infectious disease doctor speaks about new coronavirus treatment ‘Remdesivir’


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The White House announced the experimental drug, Remdesivir, has shown real promise as a therapy for treatment of the coronavirus.

Jodie Dionne-Odom M.D., assistant professor in UAB’s Division of Infectious Diseases spoke with CBS 42 to discuss UAB’s role in studying the use of Remdesivir as a treatment of COVID-19.

“Everything we’ve been doing with physical distance is making a big difference,” Dionne-Odom said. “It’s buying us time so we can have these clinical trials to identify new drugs and a new vaccine that are going to work.”

Over 1,000 patients were tested during the study of the new drug including some patients at UAB. Patients were treated with either Remdesivir or a placebo.

The study results was expected to be released in mid-May, however because of it’s success, researchers felt an ethical obligation to publish their findings sooner.

“We’ve been looking for some hope in this pandemic and this drug gives us that,” Dionne-Odom said.

During the study, Remdesivir helped reduce coronavirus patient’s time in the hospital by four days, UAB tells us.

Patients who were chosen to be a part of the study had to meet a tough criterion. The patients had to be admitted to the hospital and receiving oxygen therapy for COVID-19 – some on breathing machines. Remdesivir was administered to the patient through the vein for 10 days, Dionne-Odom said.

CBS 42 spoke with doctor Paul Goepfert with UAB’s infectious disease division on when Remdesivir could receive FDA approval.

“This will certainly be fast-tracked,” Goepfert said. “I suspect it will be fairly soon. Right now, many people are getting Remdesivir on a compassionate use basis. I’m not sure if they’re going to expand that, or quickly approve it.”

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