Remdesivir, which was used last week to treat Donald Trump, recently became the first drug to be officially recommended in Quebec to fight the disease.
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The hospitalization of the US president has shone the spotlight on the two drugs that doctors rely on most to fight COVID-19: remdesivir and dexamethasone.
Donald Trump has received both. They are respectively recognized to reduce hospitalization time and mortality. They are intended only for the most affected patients.
The President of the United States has thus benefited from several doses of remdesivir.
This drug has just been recommended by the National Institute of Excellence in Health and Social Services, INESSS, the organization that advises the Government of Quebec on drugs.
“Remdesivir is indeed the first drug evaluated by INESSS for reimbursement in the treatment of COVID. […] Taking into account all the aspects provided for by law, INESSS recommended to the Minister to register Veklury (remdesivir) on the List of medications – Establishments for the treatment of coronavirus disease, ”said the door- lyrics by Olivia Jacques.
Researchers are still finding benefits from this drug. Recently, scientists at the University of Alberta revealed that remdesivir has a rare characteristic: it can fight the virus through two different mechanisms.
We knew its ability to block the reproduction of the virus, but researchers have shown that it can also act as a roadblock, to stop or delay its progression in the body of a patient.
As for the supply, the doses, at the moment, are limited, explains the Ministry of Health of Quebec.
They are divided among the provinces according to current needs.
Health Canada advises that “the government has signed an agreement with Gilead Sciences and McKesson Canada to obtain a supply of up to 150,000 vials of remdesivir. The first deliveries started in September and will continue until the beginning of 2021 ”.
Lately, however, an event has cast a shadow over the enthusiasm surrounding remdesivir.
The Pharmacovigilance Committee of the European Medicine Agency has announced that it is investigating a possible link between taking the medicine and severe kidney damage, following studies that had raised this serious problem in laboratory animals. .
As for dexamethasone, “the drug is used in the field for patients who are sicker than the target population for remdesivir. It is reimbursed on the regular list for hospitalized people ”, indicated INESSS.
WHAT DOC BÉLIVEAU THINKS
In the face of a disease like COVID-19, anything that improves our therapeutic approach to the virus is important. The approval of remdesivir is therefore good news, although we must remain aware that this drug alone will not be able to end the pandemic. The cost of this drug is also quite high.
An antiviral originally developed to treat Ebola, it was studied early in the pandemic and research has shown that it can reduce the length of hospital stays for patients on oxygen by four days. It is given to adults and adolescents 12 years of age or older weighing 40 kg or more who have pneumonia requiring low flow oxygen therapy.
The corticosteroid drug is used in the field for patients who are sicker than the target population for remdesivir. It is reimbursed on the regular list for hospitalized people. It has been found to be effective by the World Health Organization.