Expressing concerns over the rampant and irrational use of antiviral drug Remdesvir, Maharashtra’s COVID19 task force of doctors has clarified in its report that Remdesivr is not a life saving drug in corona. It is helpful during the second to ninth day of illness and not thereafter. More details of the report here.
Remdesivir injection. Photo: @PBNS_India/twitter
“Remedesvir is being rampantly, irrationally used and society has developed an impression that this is THE ANTIVIRAL DRUG which will SAVE their patient. This idea is prevalent and is being practiced and exploited by doctors as well (sic).” These are some strong words coming from the doctors, who are part of the Maharashtra government’s COVID-19 task force, and have recently issued a set of advisories.
In view of the frantic rising demand for Remdesvir in the country, which is reportedly in short supply, the task force in its meeting held on April 12 clarified that “it is possible to save patients even without Remdesivr”.
In its advisory arising out of the meeting, the task force of doctors goes on to inform that “Remedesivr is not a life saving drug in Corona. It is helpful during 2nd to 9th day of illness and not thereafter. It only arrests the replication of the virus and therefore reduces the in hospital stay and convalescence of the patient by 1-2 days. This leads to reduction the hospital stay by 2 days at the most.”
The task force has strongly advised “against the rampant, irrational abuse of this drug”.
Remdesivir is an investigational antiviral drug to fight SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus infection. The drug is given intravenously to hospitalised COVID-19 patients. Remdesvir can not be justified in treating patients in home isolation, reads the task force advisory. The doctors blame rampant and irrational use of Remdesivir for its shortage in the country.
On April 11, the Indian government banned the export of antiviral drug Remdesivir and its active pharmaceutical ingredients till the situation improves in the country. This decision came as demand for the drug rocketed amid the rising COVID-19 infections, leading to its crippling shortage in several states with social media posts full of desperate people queuing for hours to buy the drug.
Meanwhile, the advisory also noted that “there is a tendency of the drug stock being made by hospitals, nursing homes and sold at a premium.”
In his letter to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday, Raj Thackeray, president of Maharashtra NavNirman Sena (MNS), had requested Modi to allow the state government to ensure the required supply of essential drugs to combat coronavirus such as Remdesivir and oxygen. He also urged the prime minister to allow the state to purchase COVID-19 vaccines independently.
Apart from clarifying the use of Remdesivir, the task force has also urged the Maharashtra government to issue guidelines to hospitals to suspend all their routine surgeries and routine admissions that consumes oxygen. “This will save a significant amount of Oxygen,” it said.
“Fix all leaking Oxygen outlets, valves and pressure gauge, also make sure Oxygen flow meters are off when the patient does not need Oxygen. Use Only Oxygen Concentrators for Home Care, leave Cylinders for Hospitals and health care facilities,” the task force advisory reads.
Today, April 15, Maharashtra has reported 58,952 fresh coronavirus infections and 278 deaths. The state continues to remain the worst-hit state even after the state began a 15-day curfew from 8pm on April 15.