CNBC interviews Edward M. Ellison, MD, about remdesivir, pandemic’s impact on physicians


In a wide-ranging interview Friday with CNBC about COVID-19, Edward M. Ellison, MD, executive medical director and chairman of Southern California Permanente Medical Group, characterized the remdesivir clinical trial as “encouraging.”

“One of the challenges we face right now is that we don’t know exactly what will be most effective against this novel virus,” Dr. Ellison told CNBC anchor Tyler Mathisen on a special “Markets in Turmoil” segment. “The many clinical trials that are going on right now are helping to inform that.”

Dr. Ellison added that physicians continue to learn about the effects and behavior of the novel coronavirus. “The good news is that the majority of those affected do recover, and their symptoms are mild or moderate,” he said. However, he added, “The symptoms tend to be evolving, and we’re seeing blood clotting, not just the fever, cough, and respiratory symptoms…So every day we’re learning more and more about how to effectively manage the virus.”

Physicians are not immune to personal concerns about COVID-19, said Dr. Ellison, who is also co-CEO of The Permanente Federation.

“So many of the physicians I talk to, they’re concerned, ‘Am I going to take this home to my family?’ ” he said. As a result, many physicians are staying away from home or sending their children to stay with family members. “That also makes it an isolating experience.”

Asked about whether the outpourings of gratitude and 7 p.m. ovations in many parts of the country for physicians, first responders, and people on the front lines make a difference, Dr. Ellison said: “Absolutely. Gratitude is medicine, I believe. We are grateful for what we get to do and make a difference for those lives we save. When you make a difference, when you hold a hand — even if sometimes you can’t save the life — if you can be with someone at that last moment, that means so much.”

For a replay of the entire interview, visit the CNBC site.