SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – The race to find a COVID-19 cure continues as Siouxland faces the possibility of a second wave of the virus.
“If people in the community feel like ‘we’re just through this, and we’re done, and we’re not going to have to deal with it anymore’, we’re probably going to have a second surge,” Dr. Larry Volz, Chief Medical Officer of MercyOne Siouxland said.
Remdesivir is the only drug the FDA has authorized for emergency use to treat COVID-19 patients. However, the drug is moving out of its donation period, with the last shipments across the country going out Monday.
Both MercyOne Siouxland and UnityPoint Health St. Luke’s received shipments of the potential treatment in May.
“We were one of the top regions in the country at the time, so we did receive doses of remdesivir,” Dr. Volz said.
However, Dr. Volz says health experts are unsure just how helpful the antiviral medication has been locally.
“Data around remdesivir really did not show a real clinical significance that there was a mortality improvement. It showed a trend towards that, but it didn’t prove statistically significant,” Dr. Volz said.
While remdesivir is shown to help some patients with early signs of COVID-19, Mike Padomek with UnityPoint Health St. Luke’s says without proper clinical trials, questions will remain.
“We used it on about just under 30 patients here at St. Luke’s. [It] seems to be helping some–it’s really hard to say on such a small sample size,” Padomek said.
Both hospitals say another drug is now on their radar.
“There’s really, fairly high quality evidence that showed that there was a significant improvement in mortality in patients that were given dexamethasone.”
Until more is known, both local hospitals say the prudent use of remdesivir provides the best option for Siouxland COVID-19 patients.
“We’re thinking we’re going to get at least one more shipment, although nothing’s for sure, so we try to use it judiciously,” Padomek said.
“We don’t have an unlimited source. We still have doses left because we still anticipate that we’ll have COVID patients here for months to come,” Dr. Volz said.