Remdesivir not a magic bullet, doesn’t reduce mortality, says AIIMS director Guleria
- Guleria also suggested doctors to ensure that Remdesivir should be given to patients who are hospitalised.
AIIMS director Randeep Guleria on Monday asked doctors to exercise caution while prescribing Remdesivir to patients and said that the drug being used to treat coronavirus disease (Covid-19) is not a ‘magic bullet’. He advised doctors that the Remdesivir drug does not reduce mortality and is of no use if given to people with mild symptoms.
“It is important to understand that Remdesivir is not a magic bullet and is not a drug that decreases mortality. We may use it due to lack of an antiviral drug and it is useless if given at an early state to asymptomatic individuals or to patients with mild symptoms. It is also ineffective if administered late,” Guleria was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Guleria also suggested doctors to ensure that Remdesivir should be given to patients who are hospitalised. “Remdesivir should only be given to patients who are hospitalised, have reported a fall in oxygen saturation and have infiltrates on the chest X-ray or CT-scan.”
A shortage of Remdesivir injection has put several state governments on alert. Maharashtra reported a shortage of Remdesivir injections in several districts. Earlier on Monday, the Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court directed the state government to ensure that Nagpur receives 10,000 injections within 8pm on Monday. The Delhi government also said that the two teams of officers have been deployed to monitor procurement and supply of Remdesivir drugs as the national Capital also faced a shortage.
NITI Aayog member (health) Dr VK Paul on Saturday said that the production of Remdesivir has been scaled up to meet the current demands. He said, “Remdesivir production had gone down, but now from 26 lakh vials per month it has been scaled up to 40 lakh vials per month and we are aiming to produce 76 lakh vials per month.”
Randeep Guleria also highlighted that doctors should ensure that medicines are given in the right time and right combination. Guleria also highlighted that plasma therapy has been ineffective in curing patients. “Studies have shown that plasma therapy has a limited role and is not of much use. Less than 2% Covid-19 patients require Tocilizumab but it is being used a lot these days. Majority of patients with mild symptoms or those who are asymptomatic will improve with treatment given to symptomatic patients.”