‘Amazing’ Coronavirus Drug Supply Running Low

YERUSHALAYIM -
coronavirus israel
A Magen David Adom medical worker conducting COVID-19 testing on Friday. (Chen Leopold/Flash90)

Israel is running low on supplies of Remdesivir, a drug which has impressed medical professionals with its performance in the treatment of COVID-19 cases, The Times of Israel reported on Sunday.

The drug is “quite amazing,” said Michael Halberthal, general director of Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa, and also praised dexamethasone, both of which are helping to contain the second wave of the virus.

Gilead Sciences, which makes Remdesivir in the U.S., claimed on Friday that the latest results from ongoing clinical trials suggest that patients who are given the drug have a 62 percent reduction in the risk of mortality compared to others. Gilead also concluded that those who recover do so more quickly.

Supplies of the drug have dwindled so quickly that a Rambam patient who was in mid-treatment had his supply cut off.

Rambam’s spokesman David Ratner told the Times: “We have a patient in serious condition who is ventilated and he received one course for a few days. When Rambam asked for a second course for him, we were told [there is] no more remdesivir in Israel.”

Asher Shalmon, head of the Health Ministry’s international relations, confirmed that fresh supplies are needed. “I don’t know if we’ve run out, but there is a shortage.”

He said that the government is “negotiating with the company” and also trying to use “diplomatic connections” to procure the drug.

Israel’s health system was able to obtain an unspecified quantity of Remdesivir a month ago as a “donation” from the U.S.-based company through its international connections.