TWO ITALIAN tourists — a 69-year-old man and his 70-year-old wife — who were administered the Lopinavir/ Ritonavir combination, usually a second- line HIV medication, after they tested positive for COVID-19 in Jaipur earlier this month, have now tested negative.
“They have tested coronavirus-negative twice, (which means) they are coronavirus free,” Rajasthan Additional Chief Secretary, Health, Rohit Kumar Singh, said. He said another patient, an 85-year-old man who had returned from Dubai on February 28 and tested positive on March 11, has also tested negative now.
Earlier, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan told The Indian Express that India had, for the first time, used the Lopinavir/ Ritonavir combination in the treatment of the two Italian patients. State health officials said on Sunday that the antiviral drugs were administered to the 85-year-old also.
The decision was taken after their conditions took a turn for the worse, and also keeping in mind the higher mortality risks associated with older people, said officials. Due procedure was followed, including obtaining the consent of patients.
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The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had earlier obtained permission for “restricted use” of the drug combination in the event of a COVID-related “public health emergency” in the country. China is also conducting a 199-subject trial on the efficacy of the drugs.
Senior ICMR officials cautioned that the results in Rajasthan cannot be interpreted as proof of efficacy of the drugs. “We will wait for the results of the larger trial in China,” said Dr R R Gangakhedhar, head of epidemiology and communicable diseases.
While 10 others have recovered and been discharged from hospitals across the country so far, none of them were administered the antiviral drugs.
The Italian man had tested positive on March 3 while his wife tested positive the next day. They were both quarantined at the Infectious Diseases Hospital, under the government-run Sawai Man Singh (SMS) Hospital here. “I want to salute my colleagues, physicians, anesthetists, paramedics, resident and nursing staff who have been an integral part of this achievement,” said SMS Hospital principal Sudhir Bhandari.
“Happy to share, 3 corona patients including 2 senior citizens with comorbid issues at SMS hospital, have been treated successfully and their test reports are now negative. My heartiest compliments to SMS doctors and staff for their commendable and dedicated service in treating corona patients,” tweeted Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.
With this, Rajasthan now has only one COVID-positive patient — a 24-year-old with travel history to Spain.
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