Remdesivir is not a magic bullet, use it along with oxygen judiciously, says AIIMS’ Guleria

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on April 21, 2021

Randeep Guleria, Director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi

Remdesivir injection is not a magic bullet against Covid-19 and more than 85 per cent of people will recover without any specific treatment including Remdesivir, said Randeep Guleria, Director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, on Wednesday.

Participating in an online discussion, along with Devi Shetty of Narayana Health and Naresh Trehan of Medanta, Guleria said there is enough data to show that 85 per cent of the people infected with the Covid-19 will recover without any specific treatment. “Most of them will have common symptoms such as common cold, body ache, sore threat, etc. Some may have gastritis and over a period of 5-7 days, they’ll recover with symptomatic treatment by keeping themselves hydrated, regular exercise and taking vitamins and just being positive about their health.” Guleria said.

Only 15 per cent may go on to moderate disease where their oxygen saturation will fall below desirable levels falls and develop high grade fever and there will be markers to suggest an on-going inflammation. Only in that case they would need treatment of remdesivir, steroids, etc, he said.

“It is important to understand that most of us who are in either home isolation or even in the hospital, because of panic, do not actually need any specific treatment. You can get away with paracetamol. Only small percentage requires Remdesivir. Don’t consider this as a magic bullet,” said Guleria

He said healthy individuals with oxygen saturation of 93-94 per cent do not need to take high flow oxygen just to maintain saturation at 98-99 per cent. It’s not going to be of any benefit. “If it is less than 94, you need close monitoring, but you still may not need oxygen,” the AIIMS DIrector said.

Meanwhile, Naresh Trehan, Chairman, Medanta urged people to not use oxygen as a security blanket. Waste of oxygen will only lead to depriving someone who needs it.

“We’ve now made a protocol that Remdesivir to be given not to everyone who tests positive. Only after doctors look at test results, symptoms, comorbidities of a patient, then it’s to be given. Remdesivir isn’t a ‘Ramban’, it only decreases viral load in people who need it,” Trehan added. He also said that less percentage of people requires hospitalisation. The hospital beds should be utilised judiciously and with responsibility.

In his address, Dr Shetty, Chairman, Narayana Health said if someone’s oxygen level is above 94 per cent then there is no issue but if it falls after exercise, then, one needs to call a doctor. It’s important to get the right treatment at the right time. He also said Covid 19 is common now.

“In case you are positive, see a doctor and get his opinion. Do not panic, Covid-19 is common now. It is a problem that can be solved provided you get the medical help at an early stage and follow doctor’s instructions,” he said.

However, Dr Shetty cautioned to get oneself tested for Covid-19 in case of any symptoms like body ache, cold, cough, indigestion and vomiting.

Published on April 21, 2021

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