Study casts doubt on drug, area hospitals tout effectiveness


DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — A new study is casting doubt on a drug used to treat COVID-19 patients. It was done by the World Health Organization. They say a drug called Remdesivir had “little or no effect” on severe cases.

We talked to a doctor at St. Mary’s in Decatur. He says they plan to keep using it.

Remdesivir is an anti-viral drug. It helps kill the virus in the early stages. It was first developed to use against Ebola, but Marc Shelton, M.D. at St. Mary’s says it’s also great against COVID-19 because it lowers the amount of time patients spend in the hospital, by an average of five days.

“If you’re sick and in the hospital, having five days less of hospitalization and less of suffering is a huge positive benefit, and they led to our use,” said HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital Chief Clinical Officer Marc Shelton.

Shelton says he is skeptical about the way WHO did the study. He says it’s most important that the drug is used on patients in the early stages of the virus. If not, it won’t be as effective.

The downside of Remdesivir is there’s no pill for it. You have to be hooked up to an IV. It’s also expensive. But Shelton says they plan to keep using it because they’ve had good results.

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