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New Jersey resident Jack Allard, 25, is fighting for his life after testing positive for the coronavirus last week, but his family says an experimental drug critical to his chances of recovery is no longer available to the public.
Genny Allard detailed her son's condition and her fight to secure the drug remdesivir on "The Story" Tuesday, a week after the drugmaker Gilead restricted public access to the drug due to an inability to keep up with demand.
"The way I understand it, is that Jack's body is fighting this virus," Allard told host Martha MacCallum. "The virus tends to attack the lungs, and ... remdesivir has the ability to shut down and kind of slow down the virus so Jack's body can properly fight it, and his doctors say this is something that can really help him and we are really excited that he might be a candidate for this. We think it is the best chance he has to survive."
Jack, a former lacrosse player at Bates College in Maine, remains in a medically induced coma and on a ventilator at Hackensack Meridian Health JFK Medical Center in Edison, N.J. and is awaiting transfer to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadephia.
While it has been widely reported that the elderly population and those with underlying medical issues are at greater risk than the younger population when it comes to the coronavirus, recent reports show a higher rate of hospitalizations between the ages of 20 and 54.
"Jack is the healthiest person I know," his mother said. "He's not overweight, he exercises weekly, an all-American lacrosse player at Bates. He continues to play lacrosse. Jack has nothing. He's not asthmatic, he's completely healthy. He's 25 years old, turning 26 in a couple of weeks."
Jack's struggle began after he woke up one morning with "horrible backaches" and a high fever, Genny explained. After two days, he "was just too weakened" and checked himself into the hospital where, despite never experiencing a cough, he tested positive for the virus.
Enlisting the help of their local congressman, the Allard family managed to secure remdesivir, qualifying as a rare exception to the recent restrictions.
"Things are changing minute-by-minute," Jenny said. "We just got a text about an hour ago that Jack is going to be flown to a Pennsylvania hospital. Once he gets there and they settle him in, the drug will be available to him there."