New Delhi: Remdesvir, the antiviral drug that is in high demand among COVID-19 patients and whose severe shortage India is facing, is not a sure shot antidote to the disease.
Dr Neeraj Nischal, an additional Professor Internal medicines, AIIMS in an interview with a leading media daily, explained that Remdesivir is effective only on a small group of COVID-19 patients.
“Use of Remdesvir for treatment of COVID has very specific indications. It is beneficial only in a very small subset (in terms of shortening the time for recovery by approximately five days) of patients early in the disease and on low-flow oxygen,” said Dr Nischal to The Times of India.
He further added, “Outside this group of patients, Remdesivir really is not much better than placebo for COVID.”
Dr Nischal also spoke about the dangers of self-medicating oneself with Remdesivir against the novel Coronavirus, without consulting a doctor.
“Remdesvir is an injectable drug that has to be administered by the intravenous route. The drug itself may cause an allergic reaction, which may be life-threatening in some people. IV cannulation itself can predispose a patient to unnecessary risks of a clot in the veins,” said Dr Nischal.
He also claimed, “It has side effects on the heart and liver, which so far seem to be reversible, but we cannot be sure as the mechanism is not known.”
Addressing the current shortage of the drug in the country, Dr Nischal stated, “The decision to use it (Remdesvir) should be based on the clinical status of a patient and not his social status.”
As a parting remark, he said that Remdesvir may be effective when used logically, but not when used indiscriminately.