Remdesivir approved for emergency use to treat COVID-19, says health ministry; drug to be available in form of injection

Asian News International

New Delhi: The Union health ministry said on Tuesday said that Remdesivir has been approved for emergency use to treat COVID-19 patients.

"The Central Drug Control Standard Organisation (CDCSO) has given permission for emergency use to treat COVID-19 patients based on the available evidence. Remdesivir has been approved for emergency use to treat COVID-19 patients. In terms of what protocol, what doses, it is not available with me now. Particular organisations produce available evidence and based on that, permission for use is given," said Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Health Ministry, at a press conference on Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, the country's top drug controller the Central Drug Control Standard Organisation (CDCSO) gave Gilead Sciences marketing authorisation for its anti-viral drug Remdesivir "only for restricted emergency use" on hospitalised COVID-19 patients.

"The decision was pushed due to the coronavirus outbreak in the country. Remdesivir would be available in form of an injection and will only be sold on retail by the prescription of a doctor for hospital use," an official told ANI.

Agarwal said that the Union Health Ministry has advised states to focus on oxygen-supported beds.

"We have asked all states to analyse the trajectory of the cases in their respective states. If a state thinks that it needs to set up temporary COVID-19 care centres, it must do so. We have advised states to focus on oxygen-supported beds," he said.

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He said people should be aware and should not panic upon if there are COVID-19 symptoms. "We need to take prompt medical advice and follow the advice given by doctors," he said.

He said only 10 per cent of India's population accounts for 50 per cent of the country's COVID-19 linked deaths.

"Seventy-three per cent of COVID-19 deaths in India are of people with co-morbidities. It is a wrong comparison to look at the total number of COVID-19 cases only and mention that India is seventh in terms of the number of cases," he said.

Agarwal said that the population of the country should also be considered. "Fourteen countries having a similar population as India have reported 22.5 times more cases and 55.2 times deaths," he added.

He said that the recovery rate is continuously improving.

"A total of 95,527 patients have been cured of COVID-19 and 3,708 have recovered in the last 24 hours. Recovery rate is now 48.07 per cent, up from 11.42 per cent on April 15," he said.

The recovery rate on May 18 was 38.29 per cent. On May 3, it was 26.59 per cent. On April 15, it was 11.42 per cent.

"Our COVID-19 fatality rate of 2.82 per cent is among the lowest in the world as compared to the global fatality rate of 6.13 per cent."

"We have been able to achieve this due to timely identification of cases and proper clinical management. Our case fatality rate per lakh population too (of 0.41) is among the lowest in the world, while there are countries with a figure as high as 62 and 82," he said.

India on Tuesday reported 8,171 more COVID-19 cases and 204 deaths in the last 24 hours as the country's virus count inched closer to two lakh.

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