After an advisory from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on the use of convalescent plasma for the treatment of coronavirus patients, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital chairperson Dr D.S. Rana has told The Sunday Guardian that Remdesivir is also being considered to be dropped from the Covid-19 treatment regime soon.
Although Remdesivir has been approved as an investigational drug for strict use under hospital conditions, it has seen a surge in demand amidst the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic. This has led to shortage of the drug, and its black marketing and hoarding. The Health Ministry had urged hospitals to use the drug judiciously and rationally.
Dr Rana said that there is no evidence of the anti-viral drug’s effectiveness in treating Covid-19 patients. “If we talk about other medicines which we use in Covid treatment, there is no evidence that Remdesivir works in Covid-19 treatment. Medicines that do not have any activity to work, will have to be discontinued.”
“All the experimental medicines, be plasma therapy (which is now discontinued) or Remdesivir, all of them may be dropped soon as there is no such evidence of their functioning. Right now, only three medicines are working, we all are examining and monitoring. The medical fraternity is trying to gather more information, by the time you gain full knowledge about this pandemic, I think it will be over,” he added.
On use of plasma therapy, Dr Rana told The Sunday Guardian, “We have seen in the last one year that giving plasma does not make any difference in the condition of the patient and other people. Also, it is not easily available. Plasma therapy was started on a scientific basis and has been discontinued on the basis of evidence.”
The statement comes amid a high demand for the anti-viral drug in the face of the deadly second wave of coronavirus that is sweeping the country.
AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria recently said that the anti-viral drug is not a “magic bullet”. According to him, the drug could, in fact, cause harm if given too early or too late.