April 22, 2024

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India may not alter cornavirus treatment protocol to add drug hailed in UK

India already uses steroids to treat coronavirus disease and may not immediately alter its protocol to include steroid dexamethasone, which has become the first drug shown to be able to save the lives of patients.

“The drug is easily available here. We can use to if we need to. However, we are already using steroids on Covid19 patients that are giving good results. There is no plan to immediately alter the treatment protocol. We need to study this a bit,” said a government source.

Trial results announced on Tuesday in Britain showed dexamethasone, which is used to reduce inflammation in other diseases such as arthritis, reduced death rates by around a third among the most severely ill Covid-19 patients admitted to hospital.

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The inexpensive steroid–available in oral and injectable forms–is widely available in India. Zydus Cadila, Wockhardt and other companies manufacture it in the country for a market worth Rs 100 crore.

“We are already using a steroid methyl prednisolone which is showing good results. There is no plan to alter treatment protocol now. We are requesting the government here to make remdesivir available for patients as that may save lives,” said Sanjay Oak, leader of the Covid-19 task force in Mumbai.

Scientists at the Oxford University said their randomised controlled trial showed the steroid reduces death by up to one-third among those hospitalised with severe respiratory complications of Covid19.

After 28 days, the steroid reduced deaths by 35 per cent in patients who needed treatment with breathing support and by 20 per cent in those who required oxygen support. The drug has not shown effect on patients who are less sick.