MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center has enrolled its first four patients in a clinical study to provide an antiviral medication as a potential treatment for the coronavirus, medical officials said Wednesday.

“I think we are fortunate to have access to this experimental medication,” Dr. Henry Su, an infectious disease specialist, said in an interview with City News Service. “We want to do whatever we can to help our patients.”

Three patients who are on ventilators at the hospital began receiving a daily intravenous dose of Remdesivir (RDV) last week, with treatment beginning this week on a fourth patient, according to Su.

The hospital is one of three in Southern California — the others are Huntington Hospital in Pasadena and PIH Health Whittier Hospital — and among 46 worldwide that are participating in the clinical study.

Remdesivir was initially developed by Gilead Sciences for the treatment of disease related to two other viruses including Ebola, but is now part of an international, multi-center clinical study to determine if it is safe and effective in treating patients with COVID-19.

“Remdesivir is a promising investigational antiviral medication under study for the treatment of severe COVID-19,” Dr. R. Kevin Jones, medical director of MemorialCare Office of Research Administration, said in a statement, noting that the study allows its team of doctors to offer the drugs to appropriate critically ill patients.

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