Government building buffer stock of COVID-19 drugs before third wave
The Indian government is currently working to build a buffer stock of coronavirus drugs as well as some other common drugs and supplements. The decision has been taken as experts continue to warn against an imminent third wave of the pandemic. Government is stocking up on drugs such as Remdesivir, Favipiravir, Paracetamol, antibiotics, and vitamins, according to a report.
Government to procure 5 million vials of Remdesivir
Government is planning to procure five million vials of Remdesivir and is making advance payments to pharmaceutical companies for the production, Business Standard reported citing sources. "The Centre is planning to procure five million vials of Remdesivir ahead of the third wave. What's better is that this time, the government is paying us in advance," an executive at a pharmaceutical company told the publication.
Cadila currently has a 3-month stock of drug
India has the capacity to produce around 10 million vials of Remdesivir per month. Sharvil Patel, the Managing Director of Cadila Healthcare, said the company has a three-month stock of the drug. "India is trying to create an inventory that would last around 30 days. If a wave hits, manufacturers can produce fresh batches within that time," according to Patel.
Remdesivir does not improve survival chances, study finds
However, a recent study published in the JAMA Network suggests that routine use of Remdesivir leads to longer hospital stays but not improved chances of survival. "There is still uncertainty about the role of Remdesivir in treatment for people hospitalized with COVID-19," said Michael Ohl. In fact, several experts in India have opined that Remdesivir should be dropped from government guidelines for COVID-19 treatment.
India had faced shortage of drugs during second wave
India had faced an acute shortage of several crucial drugs needed to treat COVID-19 patients during the country's devastating second wave of the pandemic earlier this year. Social media was flooded with emergency requests for these drugs and other necessities like ambulances and medical oxygen. People even ran from pillar to post to secure them while hundreds died due to the shortage.
When will the third wave hit India?
India will likely see the onset of the third wave toward the end of August and report around one lakh cases daily, according to a scientist at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). If the coronavirus doesn't further mutate, the situation would be similar to the first wave. However, if that is not the case, the fresh wave could be worse, he added.
India's coronavirus situation
At the peak of the second wave, India was reporting more than four lakh cases and thousands of deaths daily. The situation has since improved. The country has been adding around 40,000 daily cases over the past few weeks. India has partially vaccinated over 23% of its population, but just about 6% have been fully inoculated as yet.