Bryan Health system using new anti-viral drug to treat COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms

Brittney Maines is a wife, mother and respiratory therapist at Pikeville Medical Center working on the front lines of the pandemic by choice. She volunteered to treat patients in the COVID-19 unit at PMC.
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - On Wednesday, Bryan Health officials shared that they're using a new anti-viral drug to help treat COVID-19 patients.

Pharmacists with the hospital system said as of May 15, they received 30 vials of Remdesivir. It's a drug that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently okayed for emergency use.

Remdesivir is said to reduce symptoms by about four days, from 11 to 15 days.

Kevin Sponsel, a Pharmacist Specialist at Bryan Health, said the hospital system received enough to treat five patients for a five-day course, each patient receiving six vials of the drug.

Sponsel explained that only patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms could take the drug, but they are told of the risks, must give consent, family members are notified and their data is tracked.

"So, it's administered intravenously or IV through one of the veins. The first day is two doses, one dose but 200mg followed by 100mg daily on days 2-5. It's still a little too early to tell based on most of them have not completed their course yet. There are still a few days left but we're optimistic," added Sponsel.

Bryan Health received this allocation of Remdesivir because the drug manufacturer, Gilead Sciences, donated it to the federal government that in turn is dispersing throughout the U.S.

The hospital system is set to receive a second supply of the anti-viral drug but there's no word yet on the vial count or what day it will be delivered.

COVID-19 cases by the numbers

At Bryan Health, to date, 7,794 people have been tested, of those 1,025 people have tested positive for COVID-19, and there are 36 pending cases.

Leaders with Bryan Health say they are having good success on the turn-around time from their 3rd party lab when it comes to COVID-19 test results.

Bryan Medical Center currently has 24 COVID-19 patients. We're told 13of those patients are from Lancaster County.

Bryan Health officials said 10 of those patients are on ventilators, 10 patients are in the ICU, five are in the Progressive Care Unit, and nine are in the General Care Unit.

Physicians stress the continued use of face coverings and masks as businesses reopen, adding masks are our first line of defense from COVID-19.

Mobile COVID-19 testing clinics

Bryan Health officials are planning mobile COVID-19 testing clinics this week for community-wide testing. A date, time and location has not been determined just yet.