Med students on how COVID pushed them into action, highlighted health care inequities

It was on a Saturday in mid-March when Abby Schiff, then a third-year medical student at Harvard working through surgery clinical rotations, found out she wouldn’t be going back to the hospital.



a group of people on a sidewalk: Medical student Francis Wright (top left) during a mask drive early on in the pandemic with his classmates (clockwise) India Perez-Urbano, Kara Lau, Lane Epps, Ninad Bhat, Laeesha Cornejo and Hunter Jackson, the last of whom came up with the idea.


© Courtesy Francis Wright
Medical student Francis Wright (top left) during a mask drive early on in the pandemic with his classmates (clockwise) India Perez-Urbano, Kara Lau, Lane Epps, Ninad Bhat, Laeesha Cornejo and Hunter Jackson, the last of whom came up with the idea.

She had worked the day before, but with the coronavirus threat growing quickly, Schiff, like thousands of other medical students across the country, was sidelined when the Association of American Medical Colleges issued a temporary suspension of clinical rotations in hopes of protecting students and patients, and conserving personal protective equipment (PPE).

She didn’t sit around waiting, though. As nurses came out of retirement and medical school professors pressed pause on teaching to answer the call to action on the front lines, Schiff also got to work. Within hours, she and a group of other students started building a crash course on COVID-19 for medical professionals.

“At the time, a lot of Harvard medical students were talking about what was going on, and [it] felt like we suddenly had a lot of time on our hands,” Schiff told ABC News. “There was this crisis going on. How can we best contribute?”



a woman standing in front of a book shelf: Abby Schiff, a fourth-year medical student at Harvard Medical School, helped to create the school's COVID-19 curriculum and still keeps it updated on a regular basis.


© ABC News
Abby Schiff, a fourth-year medical student at Harvard Medical School, helped to create the school’s COVID-19 curriculum and still keeps it updated on a regular basis.

In less than a week, 70 of Schiff’s colleagues, including students and faculty, had put together a comprehensive, open-source COVID-19 curriculum.

“So we had about 80 pages of content — all referenced, all freely available — including things like thought questions, quiz questions… helpful information about how to put on masks and PPE, run ventilators,” she said. “And then also an explainer about basic epidemiological terms, about sort of the basics of virology and immunology and the clinical manifestations that were known at the time.”

Seven months later, the curriculum is still being updated with the latest science on a regular basis. Today, it includes modules on mental health, global health and communication, all meant to “dispel misinformation and myths,” said Schiff.



graphical user interface, application: Fourth-year Harvard medical student Abby Schiff (second from top left) attends a video meeting with her fellow students to discuss updates to their school's open-source COVID-19 curriculum.


© Courtesy Abby Schiff
Fourth-year Harvard medical student Abby Schiff (second from top left) attends a video meeting with her fellow students to discuss updates to their school’s open-source COVID-19 curriculum.

As co-chair for outreach, she said her role is to reach out to students and groups that are using the curriculum to get an idea of their needs and how they can best be met, as well as recruiting students to contribute. The curriculum has already been implemented in 32 medical schools across the country as either an elective or mandatory course, and it has been translated into 27 languages and used in at least 110 countries, Schiff said.

“It’s had a really wide reach, including in areas where

Med students on how COVID-19 pushed them to take action, highlighted health care inequities

It was on a Saturday in mid-March when Abby Schiff, then a third-year medical student at Harvard working through surgery clinical rotations, found out she wouldn’t be going back to the hospital.

She had worked the day before, but with the coronavirus threat growing quickly, Schiff, like thousands of other medical students across the country, was sidelined when the Association of American Medical Colleges issued a temporary suspension of clinical rotations in hopes of protecting students and patients, and conserving personal protective equipment (PPE).

She didn’t sit around waiting, though. As nurses came out of retirement and medical school professors pressed pause on teaching to answer the call to action on the front lines, Schiff also got to work. Within hours, she and a group of other students started building a crash course on COVID-19 for medical professionals.

“At the time, a lot of Harvard medical students were talking about what was going on, and [it] felt like we suddenly had a lot of time on our hands,” Schiff told ABC News. “There was this crisis going on. How can we best contribute?”

PHOTO: Abby Schiff, a fourth-year medical student at Harvard Medical School, helped to create the school's COVID-19 curriculum and still keeps it updated on a regular basis. (ABC News)
PHOTO: Abby Schiff, a fourth-year medical student at Harvard Medical School, helped to create the school’s COVID-19 curriculum and still keeps it updated on a regular basis. (ABC News)

In less than a week, 70 of Schiff’s colleagues, including students and faculty, had put together a comprehensive, open-source COVID-19 curriculum.

“So we had about 80 pages of content — all referenced, all freely available — including things like thought questions, quiz questions… helpful information about how to put on masks and PPE, run ventilators,” she said. “And then also an explainer about basic epidemiological terms, about sort of the basics of virology and immunology and the clinical manifestations that were known at the time.”

Seven months later, the curriculum is still being updated with the latest science on a regular basis. Today, it includes modules on mental health, global health and communication, all meant to “dispel misinformation and myths,” said Schiff.

PHOTO: Fourth-year Harvard medical student Abby Schiff (second from top left) attends a video meeting with her fellow students to discuss updates to their school's open-source COVID-19 curriculum. (Courtesy Abby Schiff )
PHOTO: Fourth-year Harvard medical student Abby Schiff (second from top left) attends a video meeting with her fellow students to discuss updates to their school’s open-source COVID-19 curriculum. (Courtesy Abby Schiff )

As co-chair for outreach, she said her role is to reach out to students and groups that are using the curriculum to get an idea of their needs and how they can best be met, as well as recruiting students to contribute. The curriculum has already been implemented in 32 medical schools across the country as either an elective or mandatory course, and it has been translated into 27 languages and used in at least 110 countries, Schiff said.

“It’s had a really wide reach, including in areas where there are fewer resources available,” she said. “In the age of the internet, and especially when there’s something like this pandemic that’s affecting people in every single country and really just upending the structures of knowledge, it’s really important to keep information

World Bank approves $12B to finance virus vaccines, care

The World Bank has approved $12 billion in financing to help developing countries buy and distribute coronavirus vaccines, tests, and treatments, aiming to support the vaccination of up to 1 billion people.

The $12 billion “envelope” is part of a wider World Bank Group package of up to $160 billion to help developing countries fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the bank said in a statement late Tuesday.

The World Bank said its COVID-19 emergency response programs are already reaching 111 countries.

Citizens in developing countries also need access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, it said.


“We are extending and expanding our fast-track approach to address the COVID emergency so that developing countries have fair and equal access to vaccines,” said the bank’s president, David Malpass, said in the statement.

“Access to safe and effective vaccines and strengthened delivery systems is key to alter the course of the pandemic and help countries experiencing catastrophic economic and fiscal impacts move toward a resilient recovery,” he said.

The International Finance Corporation, the private sector lending arm of the World Bank is investing in vaccine manufacturers through a $4 billion Global Health Platform, the World Bank said.

Researchers are working on developing more than 170 potential COVID-19 vaccines.

Development and deployment of such preventive vaccines is crucial to helping stem outbreaks of the coronavirus that has killed more than 1 million people and sickened more than 38 million, while devastating economies and leaving many millions jobless.

The world’s richest countries have locked up most of the world’s potential vaccine supply through 2021, raising worries that poor and vulnerable communities will not be able to get the shots. Meanwhile, an ambitious international project to deliver coronavirus vaccines to the world’s poorest people, called Covax, is facing potential shortages of money, cargo planes, refrigeration and vaccines themselves.

The World Bank said it will draw on expertise and experience from its involvement in many large-scale immunization programs and other public health efforts.

The funding also is meant to help countries access tests and treatments and to support management of supply chains and other logistics for vaccinations in developing countries, the bank said.

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World Bank Approves $12B to Finance Virus Vaccines, Care | Business News

The World Bank has approved $12 billion in financing to help developing countries buy and distribute coronavirus vaccines, tests, and treatments, aiming to support the vaccination of up to 1 billion people.

The $12 billion “envelop” is part of a wider World Bank Group package of up to $160 billion to help developing countries fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the bank said in a statement late Tuesday.

The World Bank said its COVID-19 emergency response programs are already reaching 111 countries.

Citizens in developing countries also need access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, it said.

“We are extending and expanding our fast-track approach to address the COVID emergency so that developing countries have fair and equal access to vaccines,” said the bank’s president, David Malpass, said in the statement.

“Access to safe and effective vaccines and strengthened delivery systems is key to alter the course of the pandemic and help countries experiencing catastrophic economic and fiscal impacts move toward a resilient recovery,” he said.

The International Finance Corporation, the private sector lending arm of the World Bank is investing in vaccine manufacturers through a $4 billion Global Health Platform, the statement said.

Development and deployment of vaccines is crucial to helping stem outbreaks of the coronavirus that has killed more than 1 million people and sickened more than 38 million, while devastating economies and leaving many millions jobless.

The World Bank said it will draw on expertise and experience from its involvement in many large-scale immunization programs and other public health efforts.

The funding is meant to also help countries access tests and treatments and to support management of supply chains and other logistics for vaccinations in developing countries, the bank said.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Care providers protest police violence in hospitals after Harbor-UCLA shooting

L.A. County Sheriff's deputies gathered outside Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.
L.A. County sheriff’s deputies meet outside Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where multiple investigations are underway into a patient who was shot by a deputy last week. (KTLA-TV)

A group of care providers and activists gathered outside Harbor-UCLA Medical Center on Tuesday evening to protest police violence in hospitals after a patient was shot there last week by a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy.

“Hospitals are a place where we should be getting care,” said Mark-Anthony Clayton-Johnson, founder of the Frontline Wellness Network, a coalition of care providers working to end mass incarceration. “In that context, there should never be a reason why a law enforcement officer should use lethal force, such as a gun, on our folks.”

Clayton-Johnson, who does not work at the hospital but was scheduled to speak at Tuesday’s event, added: “Sheriffs shouldn’t have any place responding to crises in our hospitals when trained providers are better equipped to save lives.”

Dr. Anish Mahajan, chief medical officer for the hospital, said in a statement Tuesday that the patient was experiencing a psychiatric crisis on Oct. 6 when he was shot by a deputy assigned to South L.A. station who was not a member of the sheriff’s unit at Harbor-UCLA. The patient, a man 30 to 40 years-old, has not been identified.

The deputy “was on-site to provide security services for another hospitalized patient who was in an adjacent room,” Mahajan said. “Multiple investigations are underway within and outside the hospital about how and why this incident occurred.”

Meanwhile , he said, hospital leaders “will review best practices on how to provide security services that optimally protect the health and safety of patients, visitors, and staff.”

Sheriff’s Lt. Derrick Alfred said last week that the patient was using a metal device to break the window of the room where two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies were with another patient. One of the deputies then shot him.

Alfred said the device was “about the size of a shoebox but metal — all metal.”

In a news release, the Sheriff’s Department said that the patient “turned his attention on the deputy” before he was shot.

Some speakers at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting called for the removal of law enforcement from hospitals. Last week’s shooting at Harbor-UCLA was the second there in five years.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva responded: “It was a scene out of ‘The Shining’ with Jack Nicholson,” he said of the shooting. “We’re gonna give all the details tomorrow so you can make a decision for yourself on the wisdom of having law enforcement in hospitals.”

Times staff writer Faith E. Pinho contributed to this report.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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As Dr. Javaid Perwaiz faces trial, the women he treated question decades of care

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — The last time Brittni DuPuy-German saw her trusted gynecologist, she once again explained that the stabbing, mystery pain in her abdomen had not gone away.

It first appeared two years earlier, after she said her doctor, Javaid Perwaiz, surgically tied her tubes. To fix it, he had proposed more surgery — three additional procedures in nine months that she said included a hysterectomy when she was 29. But the pain persisted.

So on Nov. 8, 2019, at his private-practice office, Perwaiz and DuPuy-German discussed the possibility of yet another surgery, she said. He scheduled an ultrasound for just days later, a sign of the efficiency that DuPuy-German had come to expect from her family’s longtime gynecologist. He was her mother’s doctor, her sister-in-law’s doctor, her best friend’s doctor. Perwaiz had delivered DuPuy-German and delivered her children.

Which is why, when her phone buzzed the day after her appointment, she was shocked by the headline she was reading: “Chesapeake doctor tied women’s tubes, performed hysterectomies without their consent, feds say.”

She absorbed the details of the FBI investigation. Her doctor, the news report said, was accused of lying to patients and persuading them to have life-altering surgeries they didn’t need. DuPuy-German began doubting everything Perwaiz had told her about her own body.

“That’s when all of the things that I didn’t question before started popping up,” she said.

As Perwaiz faces trial this week, a year after his arrest, DuPuy-German has received few answers to those questions — even as the FBI’s investigation expanded and the list of alleged victims grew. There are 29 patients specified in court documents and hundreds of others who contacted authorities after the doctor’s arrest.

DuPuy-German, now 32, is not cited in the criminal case but has filed a lawsuit against Perwaiz.

The U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Virginia would not say how many women in total were allegedly mistreated by Perwaiz, but in a recent trial memorandum prosecutors wrote that “the identified patients are only ‘examples’ of the scheme to defraud.”

The case, which authorities said was launched in 2018 after a hospital employee’s tip, first hinged on one charge each of health-care fraud and false statements. Federal prosecutors now allege that Perwaiz executed an “extensive scheme” spanning nearly a decade that endangered women’s pregnancies, robbed their ability to conceive and pressured them into unnecessary procedures based on unfounded cancer diagnoses and exams using broken equipment.

The more procedures Perwaiz performed, authorities said, the more money he made off insurance companies. He used the profits, according to prosecutors’ trial memorandum, “to support his lavish lifestyle.”

Perwaiz, who is jailed without bond, pleaded not guilty. He has not spoken publicly about the allegations but defense attorneys said in a court document he is “prepared to defend himself at trial.” His lawyers in the criminal case have not responded to multiple requests for comment, but have argued unsuccessfully in numerous motions to dismiss that, among other things, some charges were duplicative.

Couple adopts 4 siblings from foster care, then welcomes quadruplets

The Youngs went from zero to nine kids since they were married in 2016.

Can you imagine adopting four siblings from foster care, having a son of your own and then finding out you’re having quadruplets?

That’s exactly what happened to Maxine Young, 30, and her husband Jacob Young, 32, from Reading, Pennsylvania. Married in 2016, the couple went from zero to nine kids in just four years.

Maxine Young said that she had always wanted to adopt children, but the more she learned about foster care, the more she realized she wanted to help children that needed loving homes — even if it was temporary.

“After learning about foster care, it was always on my heart,” Maxine Young said. “We started to take the foster care classes and were approved in about two months. Not even a month later, we got our first placement call.”

Maxine Young said the couple wrote that they would be willing to take in two foster children at a time, but when the call asked if they would be willing to take in three siblings, all under 4 years old, she instantly said yes.

“I said yes we’ll do it without even asking Jake,” Maxine Young said, laughing. “It was really overwhelming. Going from zero to three kids is a lot, but they had already been through so much and lost so much that I didn’t want to separate them.”

While caring for the three siblings, the couple got another call asking if they would take in the kids’ baby sister, Elliot, bringing them to a total of four children.

“We said yes to their baby sister and it was one of the best yesses of my life,” Maxine Young said. “Elliot and I are so close. I laugh with Jake that she is my real soulmate.”

While raising the four siblings, the couple got pregnant with their son, Henry, using intrauterine insemination. Maxine Young said they had been trying for around two years to have their own child and were thrilled when he was born in October 2018.

It was a family of seven when the Youngs got their biggest surprise. After not thinking they could have children naturally, Young found out that she was pregnant. And it wasn’t just any pregnancy — it was quadruplets.

“At first I was excited, but that quickly became nervousness,” she said. “The doctors made it seem like it would be impossible to have four healthy babies and wanted us to reduce. Once we accepted that it would be risky, we felt joy come back. All four of our babies were healthy. I’m so glad we went with our gut.”

In July 2020, their group of five children quickly became nine with the additions of the quadruplets: Silas, Theo, Beck and Cecilia.

“I think most people that have nine kids have them more spread out,” Young said. “We have nine kids under 8 and it sounds even crazier

Advanced ICU Care and UAB Medicine Enter Strategic Telemedicine Partnership

ST. LOUIS, Mo., Oct. 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Advanced ICU Care, the nation’s leading provider of high-acuity telemedicine services, announced a large strategic telemedicine partnership with UAB Medicine, a nationally recognized leader in patient care, research and training. The technology, operations, and care partnership encompasses the entire UAB Health System including University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital, the third largest public hospital facility in the U.S. The relationship initiates with the development of a new tele-ICU operations center in Birmingham and envisions serving up to 750 ICU beds in Alabama and surrounding states.

The new partnership brings together leading healthcare innovators to advance the practice and operational models of tele-ICU care. UAB Medicine’s desire to provide state-of-the-art tele-ICU services for its ICU units led to extensive evaluation of tele-ICU options. Advanced ICU Care has developed unique assets and experience in its fifteen years of offering telemedicine care.

In particular, Advanced ICU Care’s proprietary HUB workflow management software platform uniquely addresses the challenges associated with the customized delivery of acute patient care at high volumes across multiple care venues. In addition, the company’s technical, operational, and clinical expertise draw upon its care of over a half million tele-ICU patients and care partnerships with more than 100 hospitals nationwide. UAB Medicine brings to the relationship additional clinical expertise as a national leader in pulmonary and critical care medicine.

 “Advanced ICU Care’s clinical and operational expertise and proprietary HUB workflow management software are assets that are well aligned with UAB’s vision for our tele-ICU programs,” said Reid Jones, CEO of UAB Medicine. “Telehealth and tele-ICU have become increasingly important vehicles for healthcare delivery, and we look forward to leveraging Advanced ICU Care’s assets to deliver high-acuity telemedicine to patients across Alabama and beyond.”

“The size and scope of this unique tele-ICU services partnership is indicative of the forward looking, innovation-oriented cultures of both organizations,” said Lou Silverman, CEO of Advanced ICU Care. “As a technology-enabled healthcare services organization, we have successfully implemented and managed more tele-ICU programs than any other provider in the nation. We see this partnership as an endorsement of the successes we have achieved to date and as a validation of our vision for the future of telemedicine. We look forward to collaborating closely with the UAB Medicine team in this inspired project.”

About UAB Medicine

UAB Medicine comprises the School of Medicine and the $4.3 billion UAB Health System that includes all of the University of Alabama at Birmingham‘s patient-care activities and 2,300 licensed beds in six hospitals, one of which is UAB Hospital — the third-largest public hospital in the United States, winner of the Women’s Choice award, and one of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals. UAB, a part of the University of Alabama System, is the state of Alabama’s largest single employer and an internationally renowned research university and academic health center; its professional schools and specialty patient-care programs are consistently ranked among the nation’s top 50. UAB is the

Fusion IV Pharmaceuticals INC Finds Functional Medicine Can Help With COVID Care

Los Angeles, CA – ( NewMediaWire ) – October 12, 2020 –  Fusion IV Pharmaceuticals INC provides functional medicine care for many patients and is focused on providing high-quality care during the Covid-19 pandemic. Their functional medicine approach has helped to identify many new treatment methods that can boost a person’s health and provide a substantial barrier to infection.

The Functional Approach Applied by Fusion IV Pharmaceutical INC

Functional medicine is a unique branch of treatments that Fusion IV Pharmaceutical INC has helped expand over the years. It focuses heavily on managing a person’s health through natural changes, such as adjusting their diet and their exercise routines.

In this way, functional medicine provides a unique opportunity to strengthen a person’s immune system against Covid-19. The worst symptoms of this disease are found to occur in those with weaker bodies or underlying conditions. Fusion IV Pharmaceutical INC seeks to help those with these problems by making their bodies more substantial and more resistant to diseases.

And Fusion IV Pharmaceutical INC has pioneered many care methods to make this process more streamlined and efficient. By understanding these techniques, those who are at more risk during this pandemic can decrease their potential risk and avoid severe symptoms.

Methods Used By Fusion IV Pharmaceuticals INC

At Fusion IV Pharmaceuticals INC, patients are being asked to follow the basic COVID prevention methods. These include social distancing – staying six feet away from others at all times – and washing and sanitizing hands whenever possible. Washing hands with soap for up to 20-30 seconds can help to kill many germs, including the COVID virus.

Fusion IV Pharmaceuticals INC is also creating dietary plans for patients that include healthy and unprocessed foods, cutting down on starches and unhealthy grains, and focusing on medicinal foods like spinach, cabbage, oranges, olives, and apples. These foods have flavonoids that help fight viruses, including kaempferol, hesperidin, and quercetin.

And Fusion IV Pharmaceuticals INC also provides immune-boosting treatments to help fight Covid and other conditions. These treatments include various types of supplements, such as 1,000-2,000 mg of Vitamin C, 20 mg of Zinc a day, 1-2 mg of sustained-released melatonin, and 1,200 mg of NAC every day. These supplements help keep the immune system functional and healthy.

Fusion IV Pharmaceuticals INC implements breakthrough techniques and delivery methods to enhance supplemental delivery. These include multiple infusion methods that work supplements directly into the bloodstream, making their delivery more comprehensive. Those who cannot tolerate this type of care may receive oral supplements that they can take at home.

About Fusion IV Pharmaceuticals INC

Fusion IV Pharmaceuticals INC is a compounding pharmacy that focuses on functional medicine, a patient-centered approach, and science-based care. Located in Los Angeles, California, they have helped promote wellness, better health, and medical science advances for over five years. They are led by Dr. Navid Vahedi, a passionate compounding pharmacist.

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Remdesivir study finally published, and an expert in critical care medicine gives us his verdict

Remdesivir study finally published – an expert in critical care medicine gives us his verdict
A patient receiving supplemental oxygen is likely to benefit the most. Credit: 99Art/Shutterstock

The results of the ACTT-1 trial, which looked at the effectiveness of remdesivir as a treatment for COVID-19, have finally been published. So far the only drug that has been shown to reduce deaths from the disease has been dexamethasone, a steroid that suppresses the immune system through its anti-inflammatory effects. Steroids have a secondary effect on the disease—they don’t target the virus itself. Remdesivir, on the other hand, goes straight to the cause of the disease by inhibiting the virus.

The drug, which was developed by Gilead Sciences, was approved for use by the US Food and Drug Administration under an “emergency use authorisation” on May 1. It was recently used to treat President Donald Trump.

Gilead Sciences has claimed that the drug has significant benefits for patients—but robust data has been lacking until now. This makes the long-awaited results of the ACTT-1 trial important. Having read the study, most physicians treating patients with COVID-19 will be asking themselves the same question: “Should I be using remdesivir for my patients?”

Should all COVID-19 patients get remdesivir?

The trial follows a gold-standard design of being double blind, randomized and controlled, and like most trials published in top medical journals, at first glance the outcomes are fairly impressive. They found that patients receiving the drug improved and recovered more quickly, were less likely to progress to severe disease, were discharged from hospital sooner, and had a lower death rate of 11.4% compared with 15.2% in patients receiving “usual” treatment.

Based on these positive findings, it would be tempting to conclude that all patients who have the disease should receive the drug, but since it costs around US$2,340 (£1,795) to treat one patient, and is likely to be in short supply in the UK for the foreseeable future, the question warrants a more considered analysis.

The use of any drug also has potentially negative consequences. Remdesivir has not been around long enough to have a track record for safety, and the reports of side-effects in COVID patients continue to grow.

When we unpick the data and look at analyzes of smaller groups (subgroup analyzes), the only patients for whom benefit was conclusively demonstrated were those who were less severely ill and receiving only supplemental oxygen rather than being on a ventilator. It is worth remembering that ACTT-1 is a relatively small trial and sicker patients may well benefit, but it has yet to be proven. Another interesting subgroup analysis showed that patients receiving dexamethasone showed added benefit with the addition of remdesivir, which is good news.

No magic bullet

So when I go into my hospital this week and am confronted on the wards with patients who are ill with COVID-19, ACTT-1 tells me that, provided I can find remdesivir on the pharmacy shelf, I should be confident to use it in any patients who are receiving oxygen alone, in the hope that they will recover sooner and, more