The drug remdesivir is part of a cocktail of drugs used to stop infection and is now being tested against COVID-19.
Kena Betancur / Getty Images North America / Afp
Pinoy nurse among recipients of COVID-19 trial drugs
Ghio Ong (The Philippine Star) - May 1, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A Filipino nurse based in California who once tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was among the patients worldwide who received medications that are currently undergoing trial to test their efficacy to treat the dreaded illness.

The drug remdesivir is part of a cocktail of drugs used to stop infection and is now being tested against COVID-19.

While his entire family of three – including his wife and his five-year-old son – tested positive for COVID-19, Marcial Reyes had the worst symptoms.

He stayed in the hospital for almost a month, with 11 days being on life support or with a ventilator, he told The Chiefs on Cignal’s One News channel last Wednesday.

He suffered COVID-19 complications like pneumonia so his doctors “had to put me in a chemically-induced coma so my lungs will get the rest it needs,” he said.

While unconscious, he was being injected with various medications like vitamin C, a drug for malaria which he did not name and remdesivir, all “specifically to combat COVID-19.”

Anti-malaria drugs and remdesivir – an antiviral drug used to treat diseases caused by the Ebola virus and other forms of viruses in the past – are currently undergoing clinical trials to see if they could also treat COVID-19.

The Department of Health (DOH) previously announced the Philippines would join a “solidarity trial” along with a hundred other countries to test the ability of various drugs – including remdesivir, anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and medicines used to counter the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) – to cure COVID-19.

Reyes’ doctor told him he was among the 5,000 people around the world at the time who took remdesivir as a trial drug, he told The Chiefs.

He has been cleared of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and was discharged from the hospital after noting he had no fever in the last three days. He is currently expecting another advise from his doctor after taking another COVID-19 test, he noted.

Near-death

Reyes described his near-death experience while n comatose.

“Eleven days I was intubated and I had three vivid memories of what happened,” he shared.

One of the near-death visions he thought he saw was of his parents and his brother, all deceased, seemingly inviting him to join them. “I told them it would be OK if they would let me join, but I thought of leaving my wife and my five-year-old son.”

“I was sad about the thought of leaving them but I am not afraid,” he added.

Another vision that made him think he was about to die was when he saw himself floating away from his body.

Also, he remembered having a flashback of his entire life, from his childhood to being involved in political work when he was still in the country, until his shift to the nursing profession.

Now that he is recuperating, he is “eager to go back to work because I want to help patients and my colleagues who are now too drained.”

“Filipino nurses are looked upon around the world… that kind of respect gives me the courage to recover and bring myself back to work,” Reyes added.

COVID-19 MARCIAL REYES
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