Antiviral drug Remdesivir, which was used against Ebola virus, may affect the reproduction of SARS-CoV-2 too, Dr R R Gangakhedkar, head of the division of epidemiology at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), said on Monday.
Remdesivir, developed by Gilead Sciences Inc, has also shown promise against MERS and SARS.
Saying that an observational study showed two out of three patients who needed ventilator had benefited from this drug, Dr Gangakhedkar said this is one arm of SOLIDARITY trial — the one launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) last month.
Explained: How far are we from COVID-19 drugs, vaccine?
The SOLIDARITY trial is a multi-arm, multi-country clinical excercise to look for the best treatment against COVID-19. It will test the antiviral drug remdesivir; a combination of HIV drugs lopinavir and ritonavir; lopinavir and ritonavir plus interferon beta; and the antimalarial drug chloroquine.
Trials have already begun on adult patients with COVID-19 hospitalised at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. The first trial participant was an American who was repatriated after being quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Yokohama, Japan, and volunteered to participate in the study, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) said.
Dr Gangakhedkar also said that more evidence will be needed to infer if the disease spreads via shoe soles.
Briefing the media on the COVID-19 situation in the country, Dr Gangakhedkar said till Sunday, a total of 2,06,213 people were tested for COVID-19, and assured that India has enough kits to test for six weeks. “We have 14 mentor institutes who will look at the feasibility of more labs, or take part in training,” he added.
According to the latest update by Health Ministry, 905 positive cases and 51 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, taking India’s case count to 9,352 and toll to 324 deaths.
Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Lav Agarwal said a total of 25 districts in 15 states that had reported positive cases earlier have not reported any case in the last 14 days. These include Gondia in Maharashtra, Rajnandgaon, Durg and Bilaspur in Chattisgarh, Davangiri, Kodagu, Tumkuru, Udupi in Karnataka, South Goa, Wayanad and Kottayam in Kerala, West Imphal in Manipur, Rajouri in J&K, Aizwal West in Mizoram, Mahe in Puducherry, SBS Nagar in Punjab, Patna, Nalanda & Munger in Bihar, Pratapgarh in Rajasthan, Panipat, Rohtak and Sirsa in Haryana, Pauri Garhwal in Uttrakhand and Bhadradari Kothagudem in Telangana.
Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: What can cause a COVID-19 patient to relapse after recovery? | COVID-19 lockdown has cleaned up the air, but this may not be good news. Here’s why | Can alternative medicine work against the coronavirus? | A five-minute test for COVID-19 has been readied, India may get it too | How India is building up defence during lockdown | Why only a fraction of those with coronavirus suffer acutely | How do healthcare workers protect themselves from getting infected? | What does it take to set up isolation wards?
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