The Indian health ministry has recommended use of anti-viral drug remdesivir under emergency use authorisation to treat COVID-19 patients in moderate stage as the country emerged as fourth worst-hit nation by the pandemic with more than 0.32 million cases.
In its revised ”Clinical Management Protocols for COVID-19”, released on Saturday, the ministry said this drug should be used as early in the disease course as possible to achieve any meaningful effects and should be avoided in patients with severe disease, media report said.
However, the Maharashtra government, which has a plan to procure 13,000 vials of remdesivir from Bangladesh, will go for clinical trials of the drug to treat COVID-19 patients.
The state’s COVID-19 task force that comprises doctors who look into clinical management and reports to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had suggested its use to save lives.
“The drug will be provided to 18 medical colleges and the government is acquiring it from a Bangladeshi firm since the Indian companies are not making it,” The Hindustan Times reported on Friday.
Maharashtra is initially getting 3,000 vials and plans have been finalised to acquire 10,000 more vials, while it pushes the centre for clearances for the drug, the report said.
“According to World Health Organisation (WHO), this medicine can give us success against Covid19. The expensive medicine is being made available for poor and needy patients,” Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope tweeted.
With a total of 1,04,568 coronavirus cases, Maharashtra continued to remain the worst-hit state in India and the total death toll reached at 3,830.
Besides, India saw the highest single-day spike of 11,929 novel coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours while the toll crossed the 9,195 mark with 311 more deaths, according to data provided by the India Health Ministry on Sunday.
Amid continued increase of COVID-19 cases across India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to hold a virtual meeting with the chief ministers of different states on July 16 or 17 to discuss the ways how to contain the spread of the highly contagious disease.
Sources, however, said that the premier is also expected to discuss the lockdown issue with the CMs to this end.
In another development, Union Home Minister Amit Shah today held a meeting on the COVID-19 situation in Delhi, which has been seeing a huge spike in the number of cases.
Delhi, the third worst-hit state in the country by the pandemic after Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, has registered 38,959 cases so far. It recorded more than 2,134 cases today.
Health minister Harsh Vardhan, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and officials of the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) were present in the meeting, NDTV reported today.
After the meeting, Amit Shah in a Tweet message said that the Centre has decided to send 500 railway coaches to the Delhi government to upgrade them as hospital beds. It will provide 8,000 extra beds equipped with everything to fight the COVID-19 infection.
However, the meeting also decided to increase COVID-19 tests in Delhi by three times in next six days.