With India recording the highest number of recovered Coronavirus (Covid-19) patients in the world at 6.7 million, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is likely to issue an advisory based on the interim findings of the solidarity trial that showed that drugs such as Remdesivir and Hydroxychloroquine are not very effective in treating Covid-19.
“The study is yet to be peer reviewed, but debates and discussions are going on. These drugs are not performing as expected. We will take into cognisance the results of these trials and issue an advisory,” said Balram Bhargava, director general, ICMR.
The World Health Organisation’s solidarity trial had enrolled almost 12,000 patients in 500 hospital sites in over 30 countries including India.
The study has found that Remdesivir, Hydroxychloroquine, Lopinavir/Ritonavir and Interferon had little or no effect on overall mortality, initiation of ventilation and duration of hospital stay in hospitalised patients.
ICMR is also likely to delete the use of plasma therapy for Covid-19 treatment from the national guidelines, Bhargava said. This is based on the findings of the study on plasma therapy that showed that it did not benefit mortality or reduce the chances of a patient from becoming moderate to severe.
India has also seen a drop in the number of patients requiring oxygen, and ventilator or ICU support has been on a steady decline since late-September. The maximum number of patients requiring these facilities crossed 75,000 on September 25. The number was down at over 57,000 on October 19.
The trend echoes the latest findings of the government panel that said that India went past the Covid peak in September. The total number of new cases have also declined from the peak level of over 97,000 in mid-September to less than 47,000 on October 20.
ICMR is also studying re-infection in patients who developed Covid symptoms 90 days after getting cured. “Usually, the antibodies can last from three to five months. A person can get re-infected once the antibodies reduce. That’s why it is important to continue taking precautions even after one has recovered,” Bhargava said.
Government is discussing the augmentation required in the logistics-related requirements of the vaccine. The health ministry said there were 28,000 cold storages for vaccines in the country with temperature trackers and they sent information on a real time basis to the central server.
Speaking on the health ID under the National Digital Health Mission, Rajesh Bhushan, secretary, health ministry, said that it was not a mandatory requirement and no one would be deprived of vaccination for not having a health ID. “There are multiple IDs which can be utilised just like in the election scenario so that no one is deprived of vaccination on the designated day.”
He also said that the NDHM’s data management policy would be revised on the basis of over 7,000 comments that the government had received.
Bhushan also said that India had surplus capacity for vials and syringes domestically and the health ministry had its own inventory too, which would be utilised along with the industry’s.