'Deep aches, almost to the bone’: Man shares his story as a survivor and UAB remdesivir clinical trial patient

'Deep aches, almost to the bone’: Man shares his story as a survivor and UAB remdesivir clinical trial patient
Drew McDonald is a COVID-19 survivor (Source: UAB/Drew McDonald)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Drew McDonald, a COVID-19 survivor from Trussville, is sharing his story as a survivor and as a patient in the remdesivir clinical trial at UAB.

McDonald was diagnosed with coronavirus and was then enrolled in the trial.

McDonald said it was toward the end of March when he started showing signs of COVID-19. He had been working from home for two weeks before he started feeling sick.

McDonald said it started with back pain, then fever the next morning, then excruciating pain in his lower back and femur, almost like his bones were itching.

McDonald said, “When people ask me, I explain it as really like deep aches, almost to the bone, like an itching sensation.”

McDonald said he quarantined in his childhood home. He said, I stayed there the entire week, fighting the symptoms, the fever, cough, severe body aches and chills.”

Drew McDonald is a COVID-19 survivor
Drew McDonald is a COVID-19 survivor (Source: UAB/Drew McDonald)

McDonald said things got a little better, and then got much worse. He said at one point he couldn’t breathe, and he was hyperventilating. McDonald was admitted to UAB and treated for COVID-19 and double pneumonia.

McDonald said while in the hospital the UAB Infectious Disease Department approached him about the remdesivir trial and the possible side effects.

UAB was one of just 75 international sites for this remdesivir clinical trial.

Remdesivir has been approved by the FDA as a treatment for coronavirus.

McDonald said, “I had an infusion everyday and by that Thursday, I was discharged. So I went through three full days of the remdesivir... I immediately started showing progress around Wednesday morning, I noticed I was able to be removed from the oxygen and I was recovering well.”

Today, McDonald said he is physically recovering, getting his lungs stronger and doing things like walking and riding his bike.

Drew McDonald is a COVID-19 survivor
Drew McDonald is a COVID-19 survivor (Source: UAB/Drew McDonald)
Drew McDonald is a COVID-19 survivor
Drew McDonald is a COVID-19 survivor (Source: UAB/Drew McDonald)

McDonald has a wife Meredith, daughter Reese and son Wyatt.

He said when he got sick his wife had to “maneuver” some waters that weren’t easy including explaining to his 4-year-old daughter why daddy wasn’t home.

McDonald said the best day was when his wife and daughters picked him up at the hospital. He said, “The three of them picked me up at the hospital which was really cool as well, to see them immediately when I was capable of being released. It was definitely special and something I will always remember.”

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