Doctors at MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center say the patients who are involved in the expanded access study are among the sickest battling COVID-19. They are now receiving an investigational drug to see if it can help.
Doctors there say so far, four coronavirus patients on ventilators are receiving an investigational antiviral drug called Remdesivir.
"It's only given intravenously, so through an IV, and it's given once a day for 10 days," said Dr. Henry Su, an infections disease specialist at Long Beach Medical Center.
How contagious is the coronavirus?
Remdesivir was initially developed by Gilead Sciences for the treatment of Ebola. How effective, how safe it can be to treat COVID-19 patients is still unknown.
That's why Gilead has launched multiple clinical trials around the world to try to find out.
Long Beach Medical Center was recently chosen as one of the first sites on the West Coast.
"We are looking for any medication or therapy that can help improve outcomes for our patients and possibly give them a better chance at survival or coming off the ventilator sooner," Su said.
Gilead says it has increased production of the drug at its manufacturing plant in La Verne. The company says it will enroll about 1,000 patients in the initial phase of the studies.
"We don't know how effective it will be for coronavirus. It does show promise in the laboratory," Su said.
Su said while the study allows them to gather data, it also gives them another option that they didn't have before that could potentially help their patients.