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Health Ministry’s new Covid-19 treatment plan drops Favipiravir, cuts Remdesivir to size

Health Ministry’s new Covid-19 treatment plan drops Favipiravir, cuts Remdesivir to size

The Health Ministry has dropped medicines such as favipiravir and doxycycline from its list of treatment for Covid-19 and recommended only limited use of the controversial drug Remdesivir which had become a craze at one point to treat coronavirus patients.

"Physicians are advised to exercise extreme caution in using remdesivir as this is only an experimental drug with potential to harm," the new evidence-based treatment plan on the directorate general of health (DGHS) states.

For mild Covid-19 cases only simple medicines to reduce fever and cough have been recommended with self-monitoring for fever, breathlessness and oxygen saturation (SpO2). In asymptomatic cases, the revised guidelines have said no medication is required.

Also read:  India gets 12L Favipiravir, 6.9L Remdesivir in foreign aid

Antibiotics such as azithromycin and doxycycline which were rampantly being used until now have not been mentioned in the new treatment plan.

Similarly, zinc supplements and vitamins A, B, C and D do not figure on the list. The earlier treatment protocol had included a 15 to 30 days course of zinc supplements vitamin C and D.


The guidelines make it clear that medicines such as steroids should be used only for moderate or severe Covid-19 patients who need hospitalisation.

"Steroids are indicated in only hospitalized moderately severe and critically ill Covid-19 cases. Steroids should be used at the right time, in the  right dose and for the right duration. Self-medication of steroids must be avoided," the health ministry said.

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About the use of Tocilizumab, the revised guidelines said, "Tocilizumab is an immunosuppressant drug and it has been approved by DCG (I) for use as an off- abel drug only in severe and critically ill patients of Covid-19."

Anticoagulants are drugs that reduce blood clotting but are to be given only in moderate to severe cases of Covid-19 and only on the prescription of a doctor, the guidelines state.

However, there seems to some confusion about the new directives at the moment as the Indian Council for Medical Research, the country's leading health agency in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, has not yet approved them.

The ministry's latest guidelines also emphasize the need for Covid-19 appropriate behaviour like using masks, hand sanitisers and maintaining social distancing.The health ministry also advised people to seek teleconsultations on experiencing Covid-19 symptoms.