COVID-19 Updates

Remarkable improvement for Czech COVID-19 patient who received experimental drug

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The condition of a Czech COVID-19 patient has markedly improved after the U.S. remdesivir experimental medicine was administered to him for three days, Marie Hermankova, the spokeswoman for Prague’s General Teaching Hospital (VFN), where the patient is treated, told CTK today.

The VFN wants to provide more information about the remdesivir treatment results at a press briefing scheduled for 12:30 today.

The man, whom the VFN admitted with a lung failure earlier this month, may be disconnected from a cardiopulmonary bypass machine ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oygenation) that ensures his blood oxygenation, according to CTK’s information.

The man is Czechia’s only patient to whom the U.S. producer granted the remdesivir medicine. The application of another Prague hospital, Bulovka, has not been met.

VFN Anaesthesiology Clinic deputy head Martin Balik previously said the man had his lungs damaged. First, he was admitted to Prague’s Thomayer hospital on March 10 with suspected lung inflammation. After five days, he was rushed to the VFN and connected to ECMO.

The Czech Republic has a total of 74 such apparatuses for the most severe COVID-19 cases. Further patients with severe symptoms mostly need ventilators and oxygen supplies.

The VFN gained the permit to apply remdesivir from Gilead, the U.S. company for which it has been developed by a team led by Czech Tomas Cihlar.

On Sunday, however, Gilead announced the suspension of its granting of licenses for remdesivir experimental treatment, with the exception of patients such as pregnant women and underage children.

Czech Deputy Health Minister Roman Prymula said the Czech Republic is negotiating about the possibility to apply the medicine in a further phase of its development.

He said Europe might keep a stock with remdesivir for Gilead to approve its application to patients.

The first dose was supplied to Czechia for free, further ones would have to be paid for by the Czech state.

Remdesivir, originally developed to stem the Ebola spread in Congo, is an antiviral drug preventing the multiplication of virus. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called it the most promising candidate for fighting the new coronavirus.

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