WASHINGTON — The federal government is sending supplies of the first drug that appears to help speed the recovery of some COVID-19 patients to six states, where it will be distributed by health departments.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Saturday that it is delivering 140 cases of the drug remdesivir to Illinois, 110 cases to New Jersey, 40 cases to Michigan, 30 cases each to Connecticut and Maryland and 10 cases to Iowa. Each case contains 40 vials of the drug, the department said in a statement.
“State and local health departments have the greatest insights into community-level needs in the COVID-19 response,” the statement said.
The company that makes the antiviral drug, California-based Gilead Sciences, has said it is donating its entire current stockpile to help in the U.S. pandemic response.
Remdesivir was cleared for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration last week.
The department says the doses have to go to more critical patients including those on ventilators or in need of supplemental oxygen.