BEST foresight pays off: Remdesivir injects new life into employee

Pratip Acharya | Updated on: Thursday, July 23, 2020, 12:13 AM IST


At a time when the drug Remdesivir is being sold at a premium across the country, a Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking employee has emerged victorious after a 36-day long fight against corona, after receiving Remdesivir injections.

Uttam Sawant, 55, a civil engineer from the building and maintenance department of BEST's electrical wing, is the first BEST employee to have been treated with the drug. Sawant had developed symptoms in the line of duty and soon after, was moved to an isolation centre in Mulund, where he got tested. Even before the results came, Sawant's health condition worsened and he began suffering severe breathlessness.

Initially, he was admitted to a local government hospital, from where he was shifted to Nair Hospital in Mumbai. When his condition failed to improve even after a week, the doctor recommended Remdisivir.

Earlier in June, BEST had procured 120 vials of remdesivir for the treatment of its staff. In June, the undertaking had more than 200 active cases and taking note of the demand in the market, the medical wing of the undertaking did not waste time in procuring the drug as a safety measure.

"My father's condition worsened with time. Even two weeks after his results, there was no improvement in his condition. Doctors recommended remdesivir but it was not available in the market," the patient's daughter Diksha told The Free Press Journal.

"There was a requirement of 11 vials initially, but the job was done in the five vials supplied by the BEST management," she recalls. The undertaking bore the expense and did not charge a penny from their family, Diksha informs.

Now, Sawant has completely recovered and is being discharged on Thursday.

"The patient was severely critical, on ventilator and was over 55. Had the drug not been in stock, his recovery would have been difficult," BEST Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Anil Kumar Singhal told The Free Press Journal.

"Not only is Sawant the first patient to avail of this life-saving drug procured by BEST, he is also one of the first patients in the city to have been treated using this drug," said the doctor, who further informed that currently, there were nearly 20 other patients who had been administered the drug.

Meanwhile, in the last one week, more than 150 frontline BEST workers have recovered. The undertaking currently has 273 active cases, with a total of 1,200 cases reported so far.

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Published on: Thursday, July 23, 2020, 07:00 AM IST