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Buoyed by initial results, BMC plans to scale up Covid-19 ‘antibody cocktail’ therapy

Against the backdrop of the anticipated third wave, BMC said it has made adequate preparations for the usage of these drugs with preliminary conclusions suggesting the experiment was succeeding. It said the drug can be given on OPD and day-care basis.

Written by Sanjana Bhalerao | Mumbai |
Updated: July 13, 2021 11:20:24 am
Testing of residents at Giriraj Housing Society in Seawoods, Navi Mumbai. (Express photo by Amit Chakravarty)

The BMC, which introduced monoclonal antibody therapy to 212 mild to moderate category Covid-19 patients admitted at Seven Hills Hospital, has said the treatment has given positive results, adding it is preparing for its wider usage in the anticipated third wave of the pandemic.

The treatment, which uses the combination of Casirivimab and Imdevimab and is popularly called an “antibody cocktail”, is priced around Rs 60,000 per dose. According to Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) guidelines, the combination is meant for treatment of mild to moderate cases in high-risk patients at an early stage of the infection.

Against the backdrop of the anticipated third wave, BMC said it has made adequate preparations for the usage of these drugs with preliminary conclusions suggesting the experiment was succeeding. It said the drug can be given on OPD and day-care basis. “The cost-benefit analysis favours early use of this drug as it reduces the requirement as well as the duration of hospitalisation, need for oxygen support and other expensive drugs,” said the BMC.

In effect, it reduces the burden of healthcare facilities as a maximum number of patients can be treated on OPD basis, the preliminary report stated.

At the Seven Hills Hospital, the cocktail was administered to patients from 18 to 94 years and no adverse reaction was observed in any of them, the report said.

Of the 212 patients, preliminary data of 199 persons has been analysed by the BMC. “Only one (0.5 per cent) patient needed oxygen after taking this drug cocktail, and the mortality rate has come down by 70 per cent. The duration of hospitalisation has been reduced from 13 to 14 days to five to six days now,” read the report.

In the second wave of the pandemic, at least 20 per cent of the patients in Mumbai required oxygen support while 5 per cent had to undergo ICU treatment.

At the time of the administration of the drug cocktail, 179 patients had persistent fever, 158 had cough with or without fever, and four patients required oxygen support. It was observed persistent fever resolved in all patients within 48 hours of drug administration. “After administration of the drug only one patient’s disease progressed further to require oxygen support. The patient is currently admitted for further treatment and evaluation,” said BMC.

BMC had received the antibody cocktail in the form of donations through the initiative of N Ramaswamy, Commissioner (Family Welfare) and Director, National Health Mission (NHM), and Suresh Kakani, Additional Municipal Commissioner, BMC.

 

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