Prague, April 3 (CTK) – A COVID-19 patient with one of the most serious conditions in the Czech Republic who was administered the remdesivir experimental drug is in the stage of recovery and has regained consciousness, doctor Martin Balik told journalists today.
The patient is treated in the General Teaching Hospital in Prague (VFN).
Doctors are planning to test his spontaneous lung ventilation without mechanical support, said Balik, the head doctor of the intensive care ward of the VFN’s Clinic of Anesthesiology, resuscitation and Intensive Care Medicine.
However, it cannot be said whether remdesivir was of major importance for the patient’s recovery, he added.
“We do not know to date whether remdesivir was the fundamental treatment that helped him. We have some indicators showing it was a comprehensive recovery, so we do not get so much fixated on this medicine,” Balik said.
The remdesivir treatment was terminated on Thursday. The patient is still connected to a mechanical ventilator, but is in the phase of rehabilitation and is recovering, his doctor said.
The man is the only COVID-19 patient in the Czech Republic for whom the U.S. Gilead company has approved the remdesivir administration. The hospital had to gain the drug directly from its producer, Gilead, on the basis of a request describing the patient’s condition.
The man was transferred to the VFN with lung failure due to the infection and had to be connected to the ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) machine that ensured his blood oxygenation. He did not need this support any longer during the remdesivir administration, which started on March 24.
Remdesivir, originally developed to stem the Ebola spread in Congo, is an antiviral drug preventing virus multiplication. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called it the most promising candidate for fighting the new coronavirus.
The drug is still available for children and pregnant women. Patients in a serious condition with respiratory failure can apply for the drug via the Gilead web. However, the firm has not approved its administration to any other patients in the Czech Republic so far, Balik said.
Six COVID-19 patients are connected to lung ventilators at the VFN. They receive some immunomodulatory antibiotics and another experimental drug tested abroad, hydroxychloroquine. Prague’s Central Military Hospital has also started administering this medicine to the COVID-18 patients.
At present, 18 patients with COVID-19 are hospitalised in the intensive care unit at the VFN and another 31 are suspected for the infection, hospital director David Feltl said, adding that in cooperation with the First Faculty of Medicine of Charles University, the hospital is testing its staff and all patients admitted to inpatient care for the coronavirus.
According to the latest data, 340 patients infected with the novel coronavirus are treated at Czech hospitals, 72 of whom need intensive care. The patients are usually administered drugs attenuating their symptoms only, such as cough and fever.