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Chicago Woman Credits Remdesivir For COVID-19 Recovery

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Only on 2.

She thought she was going to die. But the luck of the draw may have saved a Chicago woman's life.

CBS 2's Suzanne Le Mignot spoke to the COVID-19 survivor about what helped her heal in just a few days.

She was randomly selected to take part in a drug trial using remdisivir. She believes the drug, along with a higher power, saved her life.

Tobina Kahn took her temperature three times two weeks ago.

"I was in denial and disbelief! I thought my thermometers are broken," Kahn said. "I probably need new batteries. There's now way I could a fever of 105."

She called her father's doctor, Dr. Jamie Bensimon who took care of her father for 40 years.

"He said to me you need to go to the emergency room, the nearest one and you need to go now," Kahn said.

She went to the Northwestern ER. She tested positive for COVID-19 and had a dangerously low oxygen level of 77%. percent.

"They took me immediately to the intensive care unit and they wanted to intubate me and put me on a ventilator and   told them I did not want that," Kahn remembered.

She lost her father, Edward Kahn, on Valentine's day this year. She feels he was watching over her.

"When I was in the intensive care unit, my father came to me in a vision and told me it was not my time to go," she said. "I was selected, randomly selected. I believe my father in heaven saw to it that I got this drug, because I wouldn't be talking to you or I wouldn't be alive unless I had it"

Hospital records showed Kahn took remdesivir for five days.

"I was able to breathe after I received it," said Kahn, who added that she could barely breathe before. After 12 days at Northwestern, three of them in the COVID-19 ICU, she's home after taking remdesivir, which is in short supply.

"I want all the hospitals around the country to see to it, that they can get more of this. I want the government to reach out to Gilead, who producer this medicine, to get more of it. (Because) it saved my life."

Kahn said she's fully recovered and cleared by her doctor, Dr. Clara Schroedl to return to work. Schroedl said it's really not clear how much of a role remdesivir played in Khan's recovery. But Schroedl added they're very glad they could treat her with something that has had promising results in its initial clinical trials.

Schroedl further explained why she took remdesivir:

An oxygen saturation of 77% is dangerously low. We are frequently seeing low oxygen levels in patients with COVID-19. This is a common reason a patient would need hospitalization, and possibly the intensive care unit. We hope to bring up the oxygen level with nasal oxygen but sometimes we need to use mechanical ventilators to keep our patients safe while they recover. In Ms. Khan's case, we did not need to use a ventilator but she did initially require a lot of oxygen support. 

We were able to offer Ms. Kahn remdesivir when she was admitted to the intensive care unit. While it is unclear how much of a role the remdesivir played in her recovery, we certainly were glad to have something to offer her that has had promising results in the initial clinical trials. She was able to recover and leave the hospital without oxygen which is really great. 

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