UPDATE: A 25-year-old New Jersey coronavirus victim whose mother's quest to get him an experimental drug went viral was airlifted to an intensive care unit at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, she told Daily Voice on Wednesday.
Genny Allard of Ridgewood is hoping doctors will treat her son, Jack Allard of Metuchen, with remdesivir, a drug currently in worldwide clinical trials amid claims by patients that it can alleviate severe COVID-19 symptoms.
Unfortunately, "Gilead Sciences has halted emergency individual ‘compassionate use’ access" to the drug, "citing overwhelming demand," said U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, who's been trying to help the family.
"Compassionate use" requests may still be made for pregnant women and children under 18 with confirmed COVID-19 and severe manifestations of disease, Gottheimer said.
"This is leaving hundreds of other patients suffering from extreme symptoms of COVID-19 without treatment that could save their lives — including Jack Allard, who is currently suffering from extreme COVID-19 complications," he said.
Jack's story has touched many.
"I heard people (from Edison) saw his helicopter and were praying for him,'' his mother said. "The outpouring of love and prayers is incredible. There are truly good people rooting for Jack."
Her son remained stable on a ventilator after a medical chopper flew him to the UPenn hospital late Tuesday, Allard said.
"We hope we get some updates today [on the trial medicine] once Jack is assigned an infectious disease doc,'' she said.
No one has been able to visit Jack, compounding family worries, she said.
Jack, an equities analyst, was in excellent health with no underlying medical conditions, according to his mother, who teaches at Bergen County Technical High School.
He fell ill on March 13 after returning home from his job with Bank of America in Manhattan, then was brought to JFK Hospital in Edison after his symptoms quickly worsened, she said.
The lab misplaced original COVID-19 tests, so the 2012 Ridgewood High School graduate -- and former college lacrosse star -- had to be re-swabbed, she said.
Jack tested positive for coronavirus over the weekend, his mother said.
"My son is deteriorating," Genny Allard told Daily Voice in an interview Monday . "He's in regulatory limbo."
The Allard family enlisted help from Gottheimer, JFK Hospital administrators and even the director of the Centers for Disease Control to try and cut through the red tape, she said.
Gottheimer said he called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make remdesivir available for experimental treatments.
"Now is the time for our government and life sciences companies to redouble their efforts and commitment to effectively treating patients, developing the cures we need, and providing access to those who need it most," he said. "Thousands of American lives depend on it. We cannot delay.”
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