Posted on: July 17, 2020
Julie Ann Justo, Pharm.D., M.S., clinical associate professor in infectious diseases in the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy, is spending her days immersed in patient care and research to find effectual treatments for COVID-19. Justo is the only pharmacist in the nation invited to serve on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Remdesivir Consultative Committee.
The information she provides and also learns as part of the committee has helped her guide the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control COVID-19 Clinical Advisory Council on remdesivir allocation in South Carolina. The state initially received a limited supply of remdesivir, which was issued emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a method for treating hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19. Additional doses recently received have also been distributed.
Clinical trials suggest that remdesivir shows promise for reducing recovery time for some COVID-19 patients. The drug’s manufacturer, Gilead Sciences, donated vials of remdesivir to the United States to be used to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients in areas of the country hardest hit by the pandemic.
DHEC, along with the South Carolina Hospital Association and a volunteer panel of ethicists and health and medical experts from around the state, including Justo, developed a patient-centered, criteria-based system for the distribution of remdesivir to ensure a clinically sound, fair process that would extend this scarce resource for as long as possible.
Justo has also worked with the Society of Infectious Diseases Pharmacists to help educate pharmacists about the use of remdesivir through YouTube videos, free informational podcast interviews, Twitter posts, developing FAQ documents for pharmacists to use nationwide, and through interviews with outlets such as Drug Topics.
This is an incredible accomplishment ... and it speaks to Dr. Justo’s abilities as an infectious disease expert and the advocacy she has for patients.
Stephen J. Cutler, Ph.D. Dean, College of Pharmacy
Stephen J. Cutler, dean of the College of Pharmacy, commended Justo on her appointment to the HHS Remdesivir Consultative Committee. “This is an incredible accomplishment,” says Cutler, “and it speaks to Dr. Justo’s abilities as an infectious disease expert and the advocacy she has for patients.”
In recognition of her accomplishments, University of South Carolina President Bob Caslen honored Justo with a presentation of the Presidential Coin of Excellence.
Pictured Above: UofSC College of Pharmacy Clinical Associate Professor Julie Justo (center) receives the Presidential Coin of Excellence from UofSC President Bob Caslen for her outstanding professional service. Dean Stephen J. Cutler (right), College of Pharmacy, also joined the ceremony.