Tuesday, March 28

‘Key Covid medicines’ reach Kolkata, to aid treatment

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In a respite to Covid patients and doctors in Bengal, at least 2,400 vials of Remdesivir and Tocilizumab from two pharmaceutical companies reached the city on Thursday. Around 500 vials of Remdesivir, the only drug approved by the USFDA for Emergency Use Authorisation treatment of Covid-19 patients, have already reached the city hospitals.
Industry sources said Tocilizumab is being supplied to institutions on a requirement basis. “Doctors are placing requirements with the hospitals, who, in turn, are placing orders with pharmaceutical companies. The medicine is being supplied directly to the hospitals through institutional stockists,” said Sajal Ganguly, president of the Bengal Chemist and Druggists Association.

The hospitals are also maintaining a protocol where each vial is accounted for. They are also maintaining a record of consent by patients. According to Ganguly, however, there is no way the medicines will be supplied through normal distribution chain any time soon. “There is a demand for Remdesivir and Tocilizumab from across hospitals,” Ganguly added.

“One has to keep in mind that few strongly advocated dataset are available to suggest when the drugs should be administered and at what dosage. There are reports in journals that suggest efficacy of Remdesivir, but they are too preliminary to suggest any definite efficacy,” said Jyotishka Pal, senior consultant, RTIICS.

Tocilizumab has been found effective with timely administration to calm the “cytokine storm” caused by the immune system’s overreaction to coronavirus. “There has not been any randomized control trial for Tocilizumab. Remdesivir has gone through randomized control trial and shown efficacy. We are using Tocilizumab on and off if certain criteria are met,” said Sumit Sengupta, consultant respiratory physician with AMRI Hospitals.

Doctors have another word of caution. “If you start with Remdesivir and find no supply after a few days, you should not switch drugs,” Pal warned.

Source: Times of India

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