Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services receives shipment of experimental drug remdesivir to treat COVID-19

Missouri Highway Patrol Trooper delivers remdesivir

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has received initial shipments of remdesivir, an experimental drug being used to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

Working closely with the Missouri Hospital Association, which has been querying hospitals daily in order to compile and analyze COVID-19-related hospital utilization data, DHSS officials were able to determine where critically ill patients were currently being treated and make deployment plans for the drug. DHSS received its first shipment of 385 vials on May 12 and immediately shipped them to 18 hospitals. Today, DHSS received 1,276 vials and immediately shipped them out to 33 hospitals in order to treat the 115 patients currently in intensive care units throughout Missouri.

“MHA appreciates the Department of Health and Senior Services’ continued partnership to expedite promising treatment, based on clinical conditions, to our most severely-ill patients across Missouri,” said Leslie Porth, Ph.D., MPH, RN, Senior Vice President of Strategic Quality Initiatives of the Missouri Hospital Association.

DHSS worked with the state’s MO DMAT-1, Missouri National Guard, State Emergency Management Agency and Missouri State Highway Patrol to quickly deploy the remdesivir to the hospitals.

“As a clinician who has been on the other side working directly with a patient in need, I am so thankful for both our federal partners for their cooperation and our local partners for their quick actions this week that is literally saving lives,” said Dr. Randall Williams, Director of DHSS. “We’re so fortunate that this multi-agency collaboration is allowing treatment to quickly get to those who need it most.” 

Last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) announced the allocation plan for the drug remdesivir. The allocation is from a donation by Gilead Sciences, Inc. to the United States which was finalized on May 3, 2020. The donated doses of the treatment, which received an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, will be used to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients in areas of the country hardest hit by the pandemic.

Read more about remdesivir and the HHS partnership here.