Curtains down on Remdesivir, but not so in Mumbai hospitals. Even after the World Health Organisation rejected the anti-viral drug as an effective treatment for Covid-19 cases, the Mumbai doctors plan to administer the drug as a part of their treatment protocol for the time being.
The WHO on Thursday suspended Remdesivir from the official list of medicines that developing countries can procure for the treatment of novel coronavirus. WHO on conducting ‘Solidarity Trial’ found that the drug showed no evidence of decreasing mortality or clinical improvement in the condition of Covid-19 patients. But Mumbai doctors have opined that on its early use, the drug has been beneficial in bettering the patient’s health.
Maharashtra’s Covid taskforce will later discuss the fresh WHO guidelines on treating Covid-19 in a meeting next week. But for the time being, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is not suspending the use of Remdesivir, reported IE.
Seven Hills hospital — BMC’s first dedicated Covid hospital has been using Remdesivir on 150 to 160 patients daily and has over 4000 doses in stock for future use. According to the Dean of the hospital, Dr Balkrishna Adsul, the anti-viral drug shows best results when administered within four to five days of being diagnosed. It is, however, less effective on use after 10 to 12 days, he added.
All Mumbai hospitals, both state-run and private are using Remdesivir as a part from its treatment protocol for moderate to severely ill patients. Dr Rahul Pandit, member of the task force of St George’s hospital, also in the favour of using the anti-viral drug said clinical trials give results based on objectives and are subjective. As there are few treatment options, use of Remdesivir is necessary. He also called WHO’s guidelines a ‘weak advisory’ that is proof that the evidence against its use is not strong enough.
The WHO’s panel placed a low value on small and uncertain benefits of the drug and considered there can be possibilities of important harms on its use. It has also claimed that there are contextual problems in acquiring the drug. The US Food and Drug Administration, however, has approved the use of Remdesivir as a part of Covid-19 treatment protocol.
Remdesivir manufacturer Gilead has expressed disappointment on the WHOs guidelines and claimed that it is ignoring the fact that doctors of 50 countries are relying on the drug as the first and “only approved antiviral treatment for patients with Covid-19.’’