COVID-19 | As Demand For Remdesivir Peaks, Centre Clarifies That It Is Not A Life-Saving Drug


As the demand for Remdesivir peaks in wake of the unprecedented surge in the number of fresh coronavirus cases and harried relatives run from pillar to post to source the drug, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare clarified that it is not a life-saving drug and warned that its “unnecessary or irrational” use on COVID-19 patients is unethical.

Reiterating that Remdesivir was an “experimental investigational drug” which has been given emergency use authorisation for use only on moderately sick COVID-19 patients who are on oxygen support under hospital settings, the Health Ministry said “it must never be administered in home settings.”

The health ministry also added that studies had shown the drug didn’t affect mortality rates.

Earlier on Monday, AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria, too said that Remdesivir was “no magic bullet”. Dr Guleria is a member of the national COVID-19 task force.

“It is important to understand that it is no magic bullet and it does not reduce mortality. It is used because we do not have a good antiviral drug…Remdesivir was proven useful for those in hospitals and on oxygen…it can’t be taken like a regular antibiotic,” Dr Guleria  said.

“Everyone is trying to source Remdesivir these days and asking for the drug across the counter. This is unscientific and should not happen as this drug is not for all COVID-19 patients. Only if the treating doctors prescribes the medicines, it should be used,” explained Dr Arun Sharma, Director, National Institute for Implementation Research on Non-Communicable Diseases, Jodhpur.

He also warned against self medication and use of Remdesivir since there are side effects of this medicine like other drugs and could prove to be detrimental for patients.


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