NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. -- In the federal government's latest move to treat the nation's most critical COVID-19 patients, the drug remdesivir will be supplied to six states, including New Jersey.

The drug is the first to show success in speeding up the recovery process.

"We noticed that the temperatures come down more quickly and patients who are getting this medicine and they're less likely to need a ventilator," said Dr. Ronald Nahass, a clinical professor at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

Dr. Nahass is leading a series of clinical trials at Rutgers. Through the 90 patients enrolled, they've seen positive results since remdesivir has a direct effect on the lifecycle of the virus.

"It's a very tolerated medicine which is also great the side effect profile is very favorable so that always makes us feel good," said Dr. Nahass.

According to him, it's just the first step in the process of developing a universal antiviral.

"This drug is effective but it's not the end of the story in the development of the directly acting antivirals," said Dr. Nahass.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says the doses being delivered must go to more critical patients, including those on ventilators. Dr. Nahass believes we're on the right track.

"I've done this a long time and the development of antivirals has been pretty well worked out so I have no good reason to think that that won't be the same for this virus. The unfortunate thing is it takes time," said Dr. Nahass.

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