Delayed Initiation of Remdesivir in a COVID-19-Positive Patient

Pharmacotherapy. 2020 Jun;40(6):592-598. doi: 10.1002/phar.2403. Epub 2020 May 20.


We present a case of late initiation of remdesivir antiviral therapy in the successful treatment of a patient with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in a mixed medical intensive care unit of a community teaching hospital. A previously healthy 40-year-old man was admitted to the hospital 3 days after the onset of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) symptoms including dry cough, fever, and shortness of breath progressing to intubation and increased mechanical ventilator support. A request for compassionate use remdesivir was submitted on the same hospital day as the positive COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction result. Supportive measures, in addition to a 5-day course of hydroxychloroquine, were maintained until remdesivir could be supplied on day 9 of hospitalization, 13 days after symptom onset. Sixty hours after initiating remdesivir, the patient was successfully extubated and able to transition to room air within 24 hours of extubation. Late initiation of remdesivir may be effective in treating SARS-CoV-2, unlike antivirals utilized for different disease states, such as oseltamivir, that are most effective when started as soon as possible following symptom onset. Urgent action is needed by regulatory agencies to work with drug manufacturers to expedite the study and approval of investigational agents targeting SARS-CoV-2 as well as to meet manufacturing demands.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; coronavirus; pneumonia; remdesivir; viral pneumonia.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Monophosphate / administration & dosage
  • Adenosine Monophosphate / analogs & derivatives*
  • Adenosine Monophosphate / therapeutic use
  • Adult
  • Alanine / administration & dosage
  • Alanine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Alanine / therapeutic use
  • Antimalarials / therapeutic use
  • Antiviral Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxychloroquine / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / drug therapy*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Time Factors
  • Time-to-Treatment


  • Antimalarials
  • Antiviral Agents
  • remdesivir
  • Adenosine Monophosphate
  • Hydroxychloroquine
  • Alanine