HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- The Pennsylvania Department of Health says it's distributing 1,200 doses of the experimental drug, remdesivir, to dozens of hospitals across the commonwealth.
The federal government distributed the first shipment of the drug to Pennsylvania on Tuesday.
It is the first drug shown to help fight COVID-19, which has killed more than 230,000 people worldwide.
RELATED: FDA allows emergency use of remdesivir to treat coronavirus
"The department is working to give our hospitals every opportunity to treat patients with COVID-19," Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. "It is important to note that there is limited information on the safety and effectiveness of using remdesivir to treat people in the hospital with COVID-19. However, it was shown in a clinical trial to shorten the recovery time in some people, which is why the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the emergency use of the medication for treatment."
Levine says 51 hospitals in Pennsylvania will be receiving the first shipment over the next few days.
The hospitals that will receive the first shipments were determined based on the number of COVID-19 patients at the hospital over a recent seven-day period, and the severity of the illness of those patients, based on whether they are on a ventilator.
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1,200 doses of remdesivir being distributed to some Pennsylvania hospitals