As the nation grapples with the devastating second wave of COVID-19, a heart-breaking video has been accessed by Republic Media Network depicting the dire situation of COVID-19 in Delhi and the National Capital Region. Relatives of COVID-19 patient in Noida were seen pleading in front of the chief medical officer for Remdesivir. Such has been the plight of the COVID-19 patients, that their relatives could be seen weeping, touching the feet of the chief medical officer and begging him to get Remdesivir for their patient.
Amid the steep rise in COVID-19 infections across the country, demand for Remdesivir has skyrocketed, while there has been an acute shortage of the therapeutic medicine used in the treatment of COVID-19 patients. Due to Remdesivir being touted as a "life-saving drug" or "magic bullet", the demand for the medicine has increased while its supply remains limited amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Leading experts and top doctors have said that the drug is to be used only for serious cases while asymptomatic patients or patients with mild COVID-19 can recover with supportive medication while being in isolation at home. Dr. Trupti Gilada, Infectious Disease Specialist while speaking with Republic, said that the portrayal of Remdesivir as a life-saving drug is the reason why the drug is sought by everyone, while the ones who actually need it are unable to procure it.
"It is pretty evident from scientific studies that almost 85% of people recover from home with either no symptoms or mild symptoms. All they need is only symptomatic and supportive care. They do not need any medicines beyond this. So people who require Remdesivir are those who go to the hospital in need of Oxygen," said Dr. Gilada.
"Clinical studies have shown that Remdesivir is not a magic drug either that as soon as you give it COVID is cured. The benefit was seen in decreasing the number of days in the hospital, there was no mortality reducing benefits seen. The messaging around Remdesivir that it is a magic bullet is responsible for its overuse and shortage. It is not becoming available to those who actually need it," she added.
Earlier, AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria had also said only 10-15% of cases may require Remdesivir depending on the severity of the case while more than 80% of the cases could be treated at home with supportive medication without Remdesivir. He opined that hoarding of Medical Oxygen and Remdesivir at home is creating a shortage.
"There is a panic on COVID-19 situation among people. Because of this, Oxygen and Remdesivir hoarding is happening at homes, in turn creating panic and shortage. About 80-85% of COVID infected people do not need oxygen and Remdesivir treatment. For 80-85% yoga, steam, and, healthy food will cure them," Dr. Guleria said.
Meanwhile, amid the increasing demand, the Central government has announced that it is doubling the production of Remdesivir. The production will now be close to 74 lakh units from the current 38.80 lakh units.
Disclaimer: The content provided above is in no way intended a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, especially related to COVID-19.