Remdesivir in short supply in Virginia

FILE - In this March 2020 photo provided by Gilead Sciences, a vial of the investigational drug remdesivir is visually inspected at a Gilead manufacturing site in the United States. On Wednesday, April 29, 2020, the company says its experimental antiviral drug has proved effective against the new coronavirus in a major U.S. government study that put it to a strict test. (Gilead Sciences via AP) (Uncredited, Gilead Sciences)

The only treatment the food and drug administration has approved to help hospitalized COVID-19 patients is in short supply in Virginia.

The Virginia Health Department says who gets it is largely a matter of luck.

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According to state health commissioner Dr. Norman Oliver, the health department has set up a random selection process to determine which of the close to 1,500 currently in the hospital with COVID-19 will get remdesivir.

VDH says it received its second and largest shipment of the drug a few days ago with more expected weekly for the next 3 to 4 weeks.

The health department also says there are concerns about local testing in order to prevent future outbreaks.

Doctors say it’s hard to tell whether the virus is truly widespread without more resources.

“We don’t know the prevalence in the community until we do a lot more than 1% of the population," said Molly O’Dell “The issue is a large percentage of people with COVID will not have a symptom."

Gov. Northam is expected to address both the remdesivir shortage and increased testing during his news conference today.