Using an experimental drug, scientists in the US have managed to save a victim they feared “was going to pass away”.
The patient is a woman was confirmed as the first case of community transmission in the US.
She tested positive for COVID-19 on February 26.
The patient had had not travelled to an infected area or been in known contact with a confirmed case, according to scientists from the University of California Davis Medical Center.
The woman’s condition deteriorated significantly, and she became critical.
She was then given special permission to become a test subject for the drug named ‘Remdesivir.’
The drug had previously only been tested on monkeys in the US , infected with MERS – a variation of coronavirus.
Speaking to ScienceInsider, George Thompson, an infectious disease specialist who treated the woman said she is now “doing well”, despite fears the virus was about to kill her.
Just 36 hours after diagnosis and after her condition took a serious turn, the patient was given the drug intravenously.
“We thought she was going to pass away,” Thompson said of the patient.
“The day after the infusion of the drug, she consistently got better.”
Despite the success, more tests will be needed as the scientists were unable to test her blood for something called “polymerase chain reaction” (PCR).
This enables scientists to study the state of the altered state of COVID-19 virus after treatment.
Mr Thompson said that while early intervention is crucial, more testing is needed.
“For most any infectious disease, I think the earlier we start drugs the better. But it’s a risk versus benefit question. What if this drug causes liver toxicity in 50% of the people, and we’ve given it to somebody who was probably going to do well without it?”