Expressing concern over the panic created by the shortage of Remdesivir, an antiviral drug, Maharashtra’s COVID-19 task force has said that it was not a life-saving medicine in coronavirus treatment, and strongly advised against its “rampant and irrational abuse”.
The task force also suggested that medical oxygen should be used judiciously during the coronavirus pandemic.
The task force, headed by Dr Sanjay Oak, made these observations in the advisory it issued after its meeting held on Monday.
Remdesivir is not a life-saving drug in coronavirus and it is helpful during the second to ninth day of illness and not thereafter, it said.
“It only arrests the replication of the virus and therefore reduces the hospital stay and convalescence of the patient by one-two days. This leads to a reduction in the hospital stay by two days at the most. It is possible to save patients even without Remedesivir,” the task force said in the advisory.
It added that though it would like to leave the decision to use the drug to the discretion of the treating doctor, it strongly advises against the rampant, irrational abuse of this drug.
It urged the state government to issue guidelines to hospitals to suspend all their routine work that consumes oxygen.
“Cancel all routine surgeries and routine admissions to hospitals. This will save a significant amount of oxygen,” the advisory reads.
The task force asked that oxygen audit committees be formed in hospitals to regulate the oxygen usage.
It also asked the hospitals to change the target oxygen saturation level to 93 per cent to 95 per cent.
It said that patients be asked to “awake prone ventilation” method to improve the oxygen saturation and stop the use of high flow nasal oxygen machines (HFNO) until further notice as it uses a large quantity of oxygen.