A 59-year-old Riverside doctor says he nearly died from the novel coronavirus but believes the Remdesivir trial drug saved his life.
Anoop Maheshwari, a pulmonary and critical care specialist at Parkview Hospital, believes he was infected with the virus by a 35-year-old patient in early April.
“I did wear all the appropriate gear,” he said. And yet, he tested positive for the coronavirus.
Maheshwari says he started to grow weak and tired but thought he was just over-worked. He admits now that he was in denial that he had the virus.
Eventually, Maheshwari knew he needed professional help and he was admitted into the hospital he works at. Then he was transferred to Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, where a clinical trial was underway with a drug called Remdesivir.
“I was struggling to breathe, very short of breath,” he said. “It was a very miserable experience.”
Maheshwari qualified for the trial because of his severe condition and since he was experiencing rapid deterioration.
“I really didn’t think I was going to come out of it,” he said. “I called my family. I really told them that this was goodbye and I expressed some of my wishes that I wanted after I was gone.”
Meanwhile, his longtime friend and colleague, Dr. Adrash Sharma, was treating him.
“I told him I’m not going to make it,” Maheshwari told Sharma. “I could see the tears in his eyes. He looked me straight in the eye and he [said] ‘You have to fight for me, you cannot give up on me.’ Those words resonated in my head.”
Slowly, Maheshwari began to see some improvement and eventually, a homecoming he never expected. Although he still has shortness of breath, he is improving and returned home on April 20.
“There is some hope for the Remdesivir, I believe, though I may have a personal bias since it saved my life,” he said.
Remdesivir is set to go through a second phase of clinical trial.