BMC to continue use of Remdesivir to treat critical COVID patients

Despite the World Health Organisation (WHO) suspended Remdesivir from the official list of medicines stating that the drug showed no evidence of decreasing mortality or clinical improvement in the condition of COVID-19 patients, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the city doctors opined that on its early use, the drug has been beneficial in bettering the patient’s health.

Civic officials said that they will be continuing the use of Remdesivir as the drug has yielded good results in treating severe COVID-19 patients. Moreover the Maharashtra’s COVID-19 task force will later discuss the fresh WHO guidelines on treating coronavirus in a meeting next week. At present, the clinical management protocol for COVID-19 in India recommends use of Remdesivir as an investigational therapy and Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as an off-label repurposed therapy for treatment.

“We have discussed Remdesivir’s effectiveness and use. It has come to light that if given to the right patients at the right time with right dosage, it is effective. Remdesivir is advantageous if given between the 3rd and 9th days,” said a state COVID-19 task force member.

Dr Ramesh Bharmal, Dean, BYL Nair Hospital and Medical Director of the civic-run hospitals, said more than 2,000 patients have been administered with the Remdesivir, which is an anti-viral drug and they received positive response from the patients as it helps them recover soon if given timely treatment.

“More people survive only after Remdesivir injections are given at the right time. It is only given when the patient tests positive for COVID-19 and their blood oxygen saturation level should be below 94 percent. Moreover it should be used within four to five days of developing symptoms. If used after 10 to 20 days, it has little effect,” he said.

Moreover, doctors in the city are relying heavily on these three promising drugs which are helping save the lives of thousands of patients. So far 80 percent of COVID-19 patients treated with Tocilizumab and Remdesivir in a major tertiary-care civic and private-run hospital have survived.

Meanwhile, in a recent scientific study published by Mumbai doctors showing another antiviral, favipiravir, reduced "cure time" in mild cases. The study has been also published in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Infectious Diseases.

The current favipiravir trial was conducted from May 3 to July 3 among 150 patients admitted at Breach Candy Hospital; as it was a randomised trial, 75 patients were given favipiravir and another 'control group' other drugs.

"The median time to cessation of viral shedding was five days versus seven days in the control group," said the study. The median time to clinical cure was three days in the 75 patients treated with favipiravir versus five in the control group.

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