Check unusual immune response to reduce Covid deaths, says panel
Deaths due to Covid-19 have dropped drastically – only 12 deaths were recorded in the daily health bulletin released by the Delhi government on Tuesday, as compared to the highest single day fatality count of 101 in June.Updated: Aug 05, 2020 01:54 IST
All government hospitals must make provisions for conducting an expensive test to check the IL-6 levels of patients with coronavirus disease (Covid-19), suggested four panels set up by the Delhi government to review the clinical management of patients and deaths due to the disease at 11 hospitals.
IL-6, or interleukin-6, is a pro-inflammatory immune cell called cytokine. The doctors monitor the IL-6 level to predict a cytokine storm – a hyperactive response of the immune system that ends up damaging the patients’ organs and tissues.
Doctors across the city have been prescribing medicines such as tocilizumab to prevent a cytokine storm in Covid-19 patients. “The test to measure IL-6 level is an expensive one and government hospitals did not have the provision to conduct it. We have recommended that it must be done to ensure timely administration of IL-6 inhibitors. Apart from that, we have also suggested that the D-dimer levels be monitored regularly to detect formation of clots and administer anti-coagulation medicines to patients, if needed,” said a member of the panel, on condition of anonymity.
“Private hospitals are doing a good job and are following the treatment protocols that have been developed over the past one month. Earlier, in April and May, there were a lot of very sick people reaching hospitals and there were few treatments available,” the member said.
The four panels have submitted four reports to the principal health secretary Vikram Dev Dutt over the past two days. “All teams were allocated different hospitals and have filed separate reports. Our team submitted the report on Monday,” said another member of the committee, also on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, deaths due to Covid-19 have dropped drastically – only 12 deaths were recorded in the daily health bulletin released by the Delhi government on Tuesday, as compared to the highest single day fatality count of 101 in June.
The hospitals to be inspected by the panels include private ones such as Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, Max Hospital (Saket), St Stephen’s hospital, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Jaipur Golden hospital and Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute, and government facilities such as Ram Manohar Lohia, Safdarjung, Lok Nayak, and GTB hospitals.
These hospitals had recorded a high percentage of deaths with respect to the percentage of admissions and the percentage of deaths in wards between July 1 and July 23.
The panel was tasked with inspecting whether the established treatment protocols for Covid-19 were being followed and the reasons for higher percentage of deaths.
The medical superintendent of RML hospital, one of the 11 hospitals, said, “One of the confounding factors about the high mortality rate in comparison to the number of admissions is that deaths of people who had been admitted to the hospital prior to the selected period but died during the period were included. The number of admissions went down since then and that is why the number of deaths appear to be higher.”
The Delhi government did not offer any comment on the submissions made by the four panels.