14 year-old Brit boy beats coronavirus after being treated with Ebola drug remdesivir


A mother has revealed how she thought her gravely-ill teenage son would die of coronavirus until doctors prescribed him with experimental Ebola drug remdesivir.

Dianne Tayel, from Ipswich, phoned for an ambulance when her sons Jacob, 14, and Isaac, 11, showed symptoms of the deadly virus.

Both were put into intensive care within 24 hours of one another as regular treatment failed to work and their condition rapidly deteriorated.

Jacob had to be transferred from Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge to Great Ormond Street as he became increasingly ill.

But the teenager made a rapid turnaround after medics gave him remdesivir, a generic anti-viral drug that has previously been used to treat patients who have contracted Ebola virus.

Although remdesivir is no longer used to treat Ebola, clinical trials have shown the drug could be a promising weapon in the fight against coronavirius.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Dianne Tayel explained: “I really felt, because we couldn’t get to the GP, that they needed antibiotics and if not they would go into sepsis, so this is what initially led me to deal 999.”

Ms Tayel said her son was so sick she became convinced he would succumb to his illness.

She recalled: “At the point that Jacob left Addenbrooke’s Hospital [in Cambridge] and was transported to Great Ormond Street Hospital we thought we’d lost him.

“We thought it was the end and we felt like we were being prepared for that.

“When he got to GOSH, within about 12 or 13 hours the infection team had made contact with me and started to talk to me about the possibility of remdesivir, then I felt a bit more hope at this point.

“Both my husband and I were just grateful and really astounded that so many people of such calibre were having these conversations about Jacob to make him well.

“At this point it was giving us hope which is something we’d lacked just days prior to this.”

Dr Karyn Moshal, a consultant in paediatric infectious diseases who helped treat Jacob Tayel at GOSH, said the drug was used to bring down his viral load and decrease his inflammation.

“We had to weigh up the risk benefit of using a drug which is essentially an investigational drug, what is known as the compassionate use drug,” she told the BBC.

“In bringing down his viral load we were able to decrease the inflammation that was driven by his increased viral load and therefore assist in managing that process and decreasing his inflammation.”

A study in the US showed that remdesivir aids recovery time by four days and trials are continuing worldwide, including one in the UK.


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