Highlighting the need to administer drug at an appropriate stage to treat COVID-19 patients, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) director Dr Randeep Guleria said on Monday that Remdesivir isn't a magic bullet that decreases mortality and cautioned against the use of cocktail of drugs at an early stage.
Guleria in an interview said, "It's important to understand that Remdesivir is not a magic bullet and isn't a drug that decreases mortality. We may use it as we don't have an anti-viral drug. It's of no use if given early to asymptomatic individuals/ones with mild symptoms. Also of no use, if given late."
Remdesivir should only be given to patients who are hospitalised, had fall in oxygen saturation and have infiltrated on the chest X-ray or CT-scan, Delhi AIIMS Director added.
Guleria said that in the last year of COVID management, we have learnt that two things are most important - drugs and the timing of drugs. If you give them too early and late, it would cause harm.
Giving a "cocktail of drugs on day 1 can kill your patient and would be more harmful", he further said.
The demand for Remdesivir, an anti-viral drug considered a key drug in the fight against COVID-19 has been increased after a sudden surge in the cases of coronavirus.
The Centre had on April 11 prohibited exports of injection Remdesivir and Remdesivir Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) till the Covid-19 situation in the country improves.
India again reported the highest single-day spike of coronavirus cases with over 2.73 lakh fresh infections and 1,619 deaths in the last 24 hours on Monday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Saturday chaired a meeting to review the status of preparedness to handle the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, in which he directed officials that use of Remdesivir and other medicines must be in accordance with approved medical guidelines and their misuse and black marketing must be strictly curbed.
On the issue of supply of medical oxygen, the Prime Minister directed that the installation of approved medical oxygen plants should be speed up. 162 PSA Oxygen plants are being installed in 32 States/UTs from PM CARES. The officers informed that 1 lakh cylinders are being procured and they will be supplied to states soon. The officers briefed the PM that they are in constant supply with 12 high burden states in assessing the current and future requirement of medical oxygen.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry has initiated the process of tendering to import 50,000 MT of medical grade oxygen. The oxygen supply situation remains critical in 12 high-burden states with the demand expected to soar by April 30. These states are Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. The government will supply 4,880 MT, 5,619 MT and 6,593 MT to these 12 states on April 20, 25 and 30 to meet their demands.
( With inputs from ANI )
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