Henry Ford doctor says remdesivir, plasma are workhorses fighting COVID-19 right now

It seems every day there's new research coming to light about COVID-19, how it's spread and how to treat it. And since it's a new virus, that means doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists have all had to learn in real-time how to treat the virus.

We get some updates from Dr. Odaliz Abreu Lanfranco, an infectious disease doctor from Henry Ford about what's officially been learned about the virus in the past three months. 

At the beginning of this pandemic hospitals in cities everywhere were overrun with sick patients. Dr. Abreu Lanfranco says he's still treating patients every day but no doubt, certain things are improving. 

"I think the big difference that we have right now is a steady pace of patients that are coming to the hospital with maybe more severe diseases and we are more prepared to take care of patients in terms of figuring out and triaging where they have to go, but also having the appropriate equipment to care for them and also the protective equipment to prevent them in transmission," he says. 

There's no vaccine and the FDA has no proven treatment for COVID-19 so a lot of medications are being tested right now. Dr. Abreu Lanfranco says he is now seeing good results with an anti-viral medication called remdesivir, which is approved to treat COVID-19 in Japan. 

"We've changed our practice in terms of what are we giving our patients treatment with because it initially was hydroxychloroquine. Now we know of the role of anti-inflammatory medications including steroids. Right now we've been extended access to remdesivir, an anti-viral that we can use for patients as well as convalescent plasma. Those two have become our workhorses. 

Who's most at risk for severe complications of COVID-19? 

This answer hasn't changed. It's the same message we've been hearing for months: 

"The more chronic illness you have, including diabetes, cardiac disease, kidney disease, any chronic pulmonary conditions, immunocompromised patients, obesity and the elderly as well, are the ones that usually have higher chances of having worse outcomes."

You can hear more of our conversation with Dr. Abreu Lanfranco here