With the fear of a third wave looming, the state Covid-19 task force has requested the government to subsidise the price of cocktail antibody therapy, which has proven to be a boon to treat serious patients. Members of the task force believe this will play an important role if the third wave hits. This is a replacement to plasma therapy.
The cocktail of fast-acting laboratory-made antibodies, one of the most expensive drugs ever to be deployed against the virus— has transformed from a “sparingly used” drug into a “widely used” one, almost replacing commonly used medicines.
Senior doctor from the state Covid-19 task force said that doctors across the country have started using it as the first line of treatment mainly for those patients who can afford it. “There are several studies that are in favour of giving the cocktail antibody therapy to serious or mild Covid patients. It has proven to be a life-saving drug. The only concern is the cost, which is Rs 63,000. A request has been made to the government to waive off the GST and also if the amount could be reduced so that more patients can afford it,” said a state task force member.
Meanwhile, the civic body has planned to procure 5,000 vials of the drug for which they are likely to spend Rs 60 crore. Each vial costs around Rs 1.2 lakh and has two doses. One vial can be used for two patients. The first cocktail antibody therapy was carried out at Seven Hills hospital.
“The cocktail antibody is being widely used as the first line of treatment for mildly ill as well as asymptomatic Covid patients with comorbidities to prevent hospitalisation and deaths,” said a doctor.
According to the BMC, the monoclonal antibody cocktails can be given to patients above 12 years of age and who weigh at least 40 kg. No side effects have been reported in any of the patients.
“This cocktail can be given to patients having diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, asthma and other acute respiratory diseases, high blood pressure, sickle cell, cerebral palsy etc,” said an official. This treatment is also financially beneficial as there is no need for oxygen and other medications, avoiding the need for hospitalisation.
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