Remdesivir has side effects too, warns expert as demand rises in Covid 2nd wave

By | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh
Apr 24, 2021 09:50 AM IST

A Covid-19 patient may collapse after being administered with Remdesivir and hence it is only recommended to be used by a doctor in a hospital, Dr Naresh Gupta said.

Amid concerns over the shortage of Remdesivir, a drug being used in the treatment of Covid-19, the Union home ministry, doctors have reiterated to not use Remdesivir indiscriminately. This is not a drug meant to treat only Covid-19, Dr Naresh Gupta, director-professor of Delhi's Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC) said, adding that like any other drugs, Remdesivir too has side effects. The video was shared on Twitter by the Centre through its citizen engagement account MyGovIndia.

There is no Remdesivir available here, says a notice board outside a Thane hospital. (Praful Gangurde / HT Photo)
There is no Remdesivir available here, says a notice board outside a Thane hospital. (Praful Gangurde / HT Photo)

"This is not a drug specifically meant for coronavirus. It is a drug against virus and can be used against coronavirus too. In a study published by the World Health Organization, it has been claimed that Remdesivir will have no impact on a patient under ventilation. What may happen is that your stay in the hospital becomes shortened. That too is the finding of only one study," Dr Gupta said.

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Talking about the side effects of Remdesivir, Dr Gupta said that one may collapse after being administered with Remdesivir. "Its side-effects may be life-threatening. That's it's not recommended to people who are being treated at home. Now we have to weigh whether a particular case requires Remdesivir. In my mind, we are using it more than required."

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Covid-19 patients are panicking and stocking Remdesivir thinking that they may need it later and at that time they may not get it. But this is wrong as stocking Remdesivir when there is no actual need will deprive someone who may actually need it, the MAMC director said.

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In its latest clinical guidance for Covid-19 treatment, the Centre has specified guidelines on which medication to be used in which phase and said Remdesivir is only for patients who are on supplemental oxygen support in the hospital.

The Centre is ramping up the production of Remdesivir and till April 30, all states and Union Territories will be given some interim allocation. From May onwards, India will be producing 74 lakh units of Remdesivir injections, while the present supply is 38.80 lakh units.

Calling Remdesivir a 'little contribution in the overall Covid-19 management', Niti Aayog member (health) VK Paul said, "Remdesivir is only for emergency use. It is not under standard therapy. Only doctors should administer this injection in hospitals."

AIIMS director Randeep Guleria has also warned against the injudicious use of Remdesivir. "Remdesivir should only be given who are hospitalised, have low oxygen saturation and have infiltrates on the chest X-ray or CT-scan," Dr Gulerial said.

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