Updated: April 14, 2021 7:11:45 am
With a shortage of antiviral Remdesivir being reported from several parts of the country, the Centre on Tuesday flagged “irrational use” of the drug, urging physicians to judiciously use it only on Covid patients on oxygen support.
“It is an investigational drug. Its role has been clearly defined in the clinical management protocol. There is no question of the use of Remdesivir in home settings. That is unethical. It is only required for those hospitalised patients who are on oxygen. That is the pre-condition,” said Dr V K Paul, head of India’s Covid-19 task force.
“There have been reports of shortage but there have been improvements. It can only be supplied to a hospital, not a chemist shop to be procured by a patient. The lines for procurement [of Remdesivir] are a distortion… We request rationale and judicious use of Remdesivir,” he said.
On Tuesday, the Centre also said there was no shortage of vaccine supply and called for better planning at the cold chain points. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said the Centre has given 13,10,90,370 doses to the states, out which 11,43,69,677 were utilised. He said 1,67,20,693 doses are available with states, and 2,01,22,960 doses are in the supply pipeline.
“Kerala has reported zero wastage. But in some states vaccine wastage is up to 10 per cent. It is very clear that the problem is related to better planning. It is not about availability of doses. We are providing doses every four days to the large states. The state administration has to every day review unutilised doses at cold chain points; and should re-appropriate the doses from one cold chain point to another based on consumption pattern,” Bhushan said.
On the growing Covid cases, the Centre said Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Delhi, Haryana, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala are the states of concern. It said 53 central teams are camping in as many surge districts, helping district authorities to contain the spread of the virus.
In Maharashtra, weekly positivity rate stood at a staggering 24.66 per cent and the average daily case load was 57,302 from April 7 to April 13, up from 44,624 in the previous week. However, the test per million only grew from 1,484 to 1,887, the Centre said.
“Test per million is growing but not keeping pace with the growth of average daily cases. The share of RT PCR tests is progressively coming down (60.1 per cent to 57.6 per cent). That is something we have repeatedly requested the states to address,” Bhushan said.
In Chhattisgarh, the weekly positivity rate stood at 27.95 per cent, and the average daily case load was 11,504 from April 7 to April 13, up from 4,976 in the previous week. The test per million only grew from 1,011 to 1,398; and only 28.2 per cent tests conducted this week were RT PCR tests. “In Chattisgarh, too, ramping up of RT PCR is required. We have offered to the states to make use of mobile RT PCR test at a cost effective price,” Bhushan said.
In Uttar Pradesh, the average daily case rose to 10,227 from April 7 to April 13, up from 2,708 in the previous week. The test per million only grew from 649 to 889. “The rate of change of cases and rate of change of test per million have to keep pace with each other. Which is not the case here [in Uttar Pradesh],” Bhushan said.
In Gujarat, the Centre said the average daily case rose to 4,560 from April 7 to April 13, from 2,640 in the previous week. The test per million grew from 1,247 to 1,574.
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