Though the fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic has been slowly making progress, it appears that the United States has hit a new roadblock amidst reports that the only drug proven to treat COVID-19 will soon run out.
According to Business Insider, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has warned that the government’s stores of remdesivir will likely be used up by the end of June, sparking concern that future patients will not be able to receive the drug.
HHS official Dr. Robert Kadlec confirmed that the manufacturer of the drug, Gilead Sciences, will send the final shipment the week of June 29. After that date, it is unknown when the drug will be restocked.
“We’re waiting to hear from Gilead what is their expected delivery availability of the drug as we go from June to July,” Kadlec said.
As was previously reported by The Inquisitr, studies have shown remdesivir to be effective in promoting improvements in around 50 percent of patients. Though doctors have warned that it is not a miracle cure, experts such as CNBC‘s Jim Kramer have voiced their encouragement about the drug’s potential to help stem the fatality rate.
“What I regard this as is the beginning of the end of the true nightmare, which is that it’s a death sentence,” Cramer said.
In May alone, the U.S. government received 607,000 vials of remdesivir, which were distributed to be used on 78,000 patients in hard-hit states such as New Jersey, Illinois, and Michigan.
Meanwhile, Gilead has claimed that it hopes to return to manufacturing the drug in July, which is when the raw materials needed to make the medicine will be delivered to the company’s laboratories.
It had previously donated its entire stock of the medicine — which totaled 1.5 million vials — to help the worldwide fight against the COVID-19 crisis.
However, doctors have voiced their fear that a potential July restock will not be soon enough. Already, some health experts have claimed that patients who need remdesivir outnumber the supplies by two to one.
“There’s definitely not enough drug for the number of patients who we currently have and probably will have through August, when we may get more drug from Gilead,” warned Michael Ison, professor of medicine at Northwestern University.
At present, the coronavirus has infected close to seven million people throughout the world, in addition to passing the tragic milestone of 400,000 fatalities. In the United States, the number of infected currently stands at close to two million, with around 112,000 deaths.