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Three-fold rise in production of Remdesivir drug to fight Covid

Three-fold rise in production of Remdesivir drug to fight Covid

The production of remdesivir has gone up three-fold to meet the rising demand for the medicine used in the treatment of Covid-19 patients.

The production of Remdesivir has gone up from 37 lakh doses  on 12 April 2021 to 1.05 crore doses  on 4 May 2021, Minister of State for Chemical and Fertilizers Mansukh Mandaviya said on Tuesday.

In view of the increase in demand, the number of plants producing Remdesivir has also gone up from 20 to 57 during this period, the minister added.

What you need to know about Remdesivir

According to Dr. Rahul Kulkarni, Medicine Doctor and Intensivist at Sahyadri Hospital in Pune, Remdesivir is an anti-viral agent but it cannot be given at home. Remdesivir is not the only treatment available for COVID-19. It was started to be used in COVID treatment after it was seen in a few clinical trials last year that it has shown some potency to stop or slow down the replication of the virus. It, however, cannot stop the disease. It is also not a life-saving medication.

After some trials, the WHO has also issued a warning to not use Remdesivir. By my personal experience, I feel if it is used wisely in early cases (within seven days of COVID infection) and mainly if the patient is continuously progressively hitting toxic after being admitted in a hospital, then it will be a good choice to go ahead. But only within the first seven days. Afterwards, it hardly is useful, as proven by scientific data so far. If the patient is on a ventilator, it will hardly be of any use. It is solely the doctor’s responsibility to  take a call on using it.

Dr. Chaitanya H Balakrishnan, COVID Coordinator at St. John’s Medical College Hospital, Bangalore says: Remdesivir is one of the members of the limited armoury we have against COVID. But it is not a life-saving drug that you have to run behind for getting it for every patient.  People are misinformed about it. There are two phases in COVID-19 infection: the first week in which the virus replicates in the system and the next in which the immune system is triggered. As Dr. Kulkarni said, the first one week is critical. If you are going to give Remdesivir, it should be within those first seven days.

If the patient is already in the ventilator and a prolonged case of illness, it is not going to change anything. In fact , UK and US has put out a very strict notion that says: No Remdesivir for mild COVID and also severe COVID (patients on ventilator) and only Moderate COVID patients who are toxic may benefit. 

But, there is no 100 percent guarantee with Remdesivir. There are a lot more drugs. But, from personal experience, I have seen that if you choose the right patient at the right time, then with steroids and Remdesivir, you can get good outcomes. The timing of the medicine is extremely important. If used well, it is one of the drugs to help.

But then, it is the clinician’s decision based on what he is seeing and not what Whatsapp or Google is telling the family.