The whole world is united against fighting Covid-19 and eagerly waiting for the development of a vaccine with which it comes to an end. Usually, the process of research, trial, approval, manufacturing, distributing and licensing takes years. However, Covid-19 being a pandemic that has affected almost 10 million lives by now is an emergency situation for which the process of vaccine development would be given some leniency with which we can expect the vaccine in 12-18 months.
But, what till then? Do we have to stay with the New Coronavirus till then? Unfortunately, YES! Even though we imposed a 3-months long lockdown, we can simply not stay within the four walls of homes forever due to economic recession. Our economy may collapse without productive activities for a year or so. And thus, we have to keep moving in life and live with corona. All what we can do is to follow social distancing measures and move out only when necessary until we have a vaccine for it.
Read More To Stay Safe: COVID-19: Testing, Treatment, Guidelines and Helpline
So, how are patients treated for covid-19 now?
By now there is no prescribed vaccine or medicine for covid-19, so patients are treated based on their symptoms. The medicines which are given are basically to provide them relief for their symptoms which differ as per individuals’ condition.
Here’s what is commonly given to patients:
- Fluids to reduce the risk of dehydration
- Medication to reduce fever and cough
- Supplemental oxygen in severe cases
Those with serious breathing problems due to Covid-19 may require respirator.
Majority of cases are asymptomatic or mild, and do not even require hospitalization. They are treated at home and in case their symptoms worsen, they may be shifted to hospital.
What is being done to find an effective treatment?
According to Healthline.com, a number of medications which were used to treat other conditions are now under trial for covid-19 test and some have given positive results. However, none has been confirmed to be effective in preventing or treating novel coronavirus. Some of these are:
Chloroquine is used to drug commonly used to treat malaria. The drug has been in use for over 70 years and is safe to use. During the test tube studies, it was found to act positively in fighting SARS-CoV-2. Now it is under trials to find if it has the potential to cure covid-19.
Remdesivir is an antiviral drug which was designed to treat Ebola is found to be effective in treating novel coronavirus in isolated cells. Although it has not been approved for humans yet, clinical trials were conducted in China and US.
Lopinavir and ritonavir
Lopinavir and ritonavir are used to treat HIV. A combination of these drugs was given to a 54-year-old man in South Korea and a significant reduction in the level of covid-19 was found in him.
The scientists who discovered APN01 have claimed a protein, ACE2 is found to be involved in SARS infections which helps protect lung injuries caused as the result of respiratory distress. And in a research, it is found that Covid-19 too uses ACE2 protein to infect cells in humans. If encouraging results are found in randomized trials, larger trials may be done.
Favilavir, a drug initially made to treat the inflammation of nose and throat has now been approved by China to treat symptoms of Covid-19 in trial on 70 people.
Are there any approved medicines for Covid-19 in India?
In India, 3 medicines have recently got approval for production and marketing for treatment of covid-19 in mild or severe cases.
Although, we must know that these are medicines and not vaccines. So, what’s the difference?
Medicine Vs Vaccine
In layman’s language, medicines are used to treat a virus or infection and vaccines are used to prevent it. Vaccine has to potential to kill it in one go or simply not let the consumer be affected by the respective virus.
So, following are the medicines that have got approval and are available to treat COVID-19 in India.
Fabiflu of Glenmark pharmaceuticals is the first drug in India to get approval for the treatment of covid-19. It comes in a pack of 34 medicines for Rs. 3500 and requires a dosage of 200 mg X 9 tablets on 1st day and 200 mg X 4 tablets a day for 14 days. The drug is found effective for treating mild to moderate patients with a success rate of 80-88 globally. It was already used by Japan, Bangladesh and UAE for the treatment. The improvement and recovery can be noticed after four days of its usage.
Covifor, a drug by Hetero has got approval by DGCI after Fabiflu to treat covid-19 patients. It can help treat adults and children, hospitalized with severe symptoms. The drug will be available in 100 mg (injectable form), which cannot be taken at home and requires intravenous administration in hospital setting under the supervision of healthcare professionals. infectious disease. The drug costs around 5,000-6,000 Rs per dose and 6 dozes will be given in a timeframe, making a total cost of around 30,000 per patient.
The company has said it has enough stock to cater to the present needs.
Cipla’s Remedesivir has been launched under the name of Cipremi in the form of lyophilized powder for 100 mg injection. It has been approved for adult and paediatric patients hospitalised due to COVID-19 infection. It has been found to be the most effective one for people who are in need of oxygen support. The pricing for it has not been disclosed yet.
Two more medicines are under the final stage of trial and may be approved soon. These are Tocilizumab (under trial for high-risk patients in Mumbai) and Itolizumab (used in Delhi and Mumbai on a trial basis for severe patients).
Apart from this, Swami Ramdev’s Patanjali has also claimed to have found a medicine, ‘Coronil and Swasari’ that treats 100% patients in seven days.
The ‘Coronil kit’ of Patanjali is priced at just Rs 545, providing medicines for 30 days. According to Baba Ramdev, 69% of the people recovered within 3 days, and 100% in 7 days.
He told that the kit will be made available online for delivery and can also be taken as a prevention for coronavirus and is a cure, not an immunity-booster.
However, the Ayushman Ministry has said that facts of the claim and details of the stated scientific study are not known to the Ministry and thus asked the firm to stop advertising till the drug and claims about it are examined. The report has been sent by Patanjali and will be reviewed by the ministry.
Recently, the licence officer of the Uttarakhand Ayurveda Department has said that Patanjali did not mention covid-19 when took permission, it gave application for medicine to cure cough and fever and boost immunity.
Meanwhile, The Race For Finding Vaccine Continues…….
Vaccine for Covid-19 is definitely the need of the hour. However, we must practice social distancing and follow all precautionary measures to not let covid-19 enter our homes.