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New Hampshire To Receive Small Supply Of Experimental Coronavirus Treatment

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CDC
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New Hampshire’s health department will be getting a small supply of an experimental drug that's been shown in trials to have a small effect against COVID-19 from the federal government as early as Tuesday.

About thirteen hospitals in New Hampshire have signed up to receive the drug known as remdesivir, which preliminary data from a government study show helped patients with coronavirus recover faster.

On a call Monday, clinicians from around the state asked how they should prioritize who receives the drug and if the state had a triage plan.

Elizabeth Talbot, an infectious disease specialist at Dartmouth College and the state’s deputy epidemiologist said that for the moment, that’s up to the hospitals.

“I’d also like to say that we will be searching out data if it becomes clear on how to triage patients," Talbot said. "But right now we’re going to trust your clinical judgments."

Dr. Ben Chan, the state’s epidemiologist, said that under federal guidelines, adults and children “who are hospitalized with severe disease" are candidates for the drug. "That includes both intubated and non-intubated patients,” he said.

“The earlier in the course of disease that you can get this medication on board, likely the more effective,” Chan said.

The state health department says it will distribute its remdesivir supply proportionally based on COVID-19 case counts to hospitals that have signed up. A spokesperson for the state’s Joint Information Center said DHHS won’t know how many vials New Hampshire will receive until the drug arrives this week.

Daniela is an editor in NHPR's newsroom. She leads NHPR's Spanish language news initiative, ¿Qué Hay de Nuevo, New Hampshire? and the station's climate change reporting project, By Degrees. You can email her at dallee@nhpr.org.

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