The nucleotide analog remdesivir, a promising antiviral drug against coronavirus. 3D render via iStock / selvanegra

The first Czech COVID-19 patient treated by remdesivir has been released home

Taxi driver Robert Markovic, the first Czech COVID 19 patient treated with remdesivir, was discharged from a Prague hospital today

Prague, May 5 (CTK) – The 53-year-old man who has been the first patient with COVID 19 treated by the remdesivir experimental drug in the Czech Republic was released from the General Teaching Hospital (VFN) in Prague to home care today, the hospital representatives have told reporters.

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The patient, taxi driver Robert Markovic, was hospitalized with a severe course of the COVID-19 disease on March 10. He was receiving remdesivir intravenously for ten days at the end of March and the beginning of April.

The released patient thanked his doctors and the hospital personnel, saying they had saved his life.

The patient is now ahead of a quite complicated rehabilitation, doctor Michal Sotola, from the VFN’s clinic of tuberculosis and respiratory diseases of the First Faculty of Medicine of Charles University, told reporters.

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“He will again learn to move in his flat, his quite extensive wounds will be treated and his pulmonary medical finding must be monitored,” Sotola said.

Markovic also said he would have to do physical exercises every day to build his muscles again. “The fight is not over yet and I am fully aware of this,” he said. He added that he would not like to return to his taxi driver’s profession and was considering a job offer from a firm transporting blood to hospitals.

“His case launched the hot phase of the pandemic and now we are releasing him into the phase when hospitals are opening to common care and the COVID incidence is rising by just marginally dozens of new cases for the whole republic,” VFN director David Feltl told reporters about Markovic’s case.

Feltl said some time ago that the patient was in a good condition. Last week, he tested negative for COVID-19 and was transferred to a standard inpatient ward.

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The taxi driver was first admitted to the Thomayer Hospital in Prague on suspicion of pneumonia that an X-ray examination confirmed. Later, he suffered from respiratory troubles and this is why he underwent a coronavirus test, which confirmed he was infected.

As he suffered from respiratory failure though he was in an intensive care unit, the Thomayer Hospital spokesman Petr Sulek said, he was transferred to the VFN in a very serious condition on March 15 and connected to an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine.

He started receiving remdesivir on March 24 and his condition improved. However, it cannot be said whether remdesivir was of major importance for the patient’s recovery, said Martin Balik, the head doctor of the intensive care ward of the VFN’s Clinic of Anesthesiology, Resuscitation and Intensive Care Medicine.

The studies are not provable yet and there are not enough data, Balik added.

Remdesivir is an antiviral medicine that was developed against Ebola by a team headed by Czech Tomas Cihlar in the US Gilead firm.

Two other Prague healthcare facilities, the Na Bulovce and Motol hospitals, take part in the remdesivir testing. The St Anne Teaching Hospital in Brno will also use this experimental drug for its COVID-19 patients.

The VFN is administering remdesivir to one more patient now and another one is treated with this drug at the Motol hospital.

All drugs used for COVID-19 are experimental as they were not officially approved for this disease treatment.

Besides remdesivir, COVID-19 patients receive HIV medicines, antimalarial and anti-influenza drugs, including the Japanese drug favipiravir to be administered to some 100 Czech patients. Doctors are also testing the application of the blood plasma with antibodies of the patients recovered from COVID-19 as the disease treatment.

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