As COVID-19 cases are rising again in India with daily record cases that remain the highest in the world, the second wave of novel coronavirus is devastating to say the least. Dr. Randeep Guleria (Indian pulmonologist and the current director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences) recent interview with NDTV is exemplary for it shares critical insights about COVID-19 and its various treatments. Remdesivir is removed from the standard treatment protocol for COVID-19 as it has limited use and needs to be given to people with serious COVID-19 symptoms. Fabi Flu one of the prime treatments for COVID-19 in India is no longer considered effective against the virus. Steroids, on the other hand, are a bit of a double-edged sword, extremely helpful and lifesaving if given to patients who are sick and require oxygenation. It can prove to be harmful if given to patients suffering from the disease too early. The recent surge in deaths in India is primarily due to the lack of availability of oxygen so the doctor stressed judicious use of the oxygen for personal use.
Dr. Guleria advised against the use of hoarding oxygen cylinders at home. He recommended oxygen support if the SPO2 level in the oxygen meter was between 90 to 93 percent in room air, although a reading of 90 and less would require oxygenation. As India is going to soon start vaccination for all above 18 years old, doctors’ message was simple to go for any vaccination rather than wait as more global vaccinations from Pfizer, J&J, and others will be available going forward. India has Covishield (AstraZeneca University of Oxford) vaccination and Covaxin as the two most prominent vaccines readily available in India. The message is loud and clear; practice all social distancing precautions, be calm, and register for vaccination dose at the earliest. Covishield has been resilient and effective with more than 85 percent of jabs administered of AstraZeneca, University of Oxford vaccine in India. Sputnik V is cleared for use in India and soon for civic society. Dr. Guleria’s interview helps understand the best global medical practices for those suffering from COVID-19 within the scientific framework. As more and more data emerges about new variants and mutations of the novel coronavirus, it helps in evaluating current medical use to stay ahead of the curve. However, one critical thought is clear: as long as vaccine inequality is present globally, new variants that might be resistant to antibodies generated through current vaccines could emerge.
India, until now has been sluggish in its effort to vaccinate the population with only 1.6% of its population fully vaccinated as of 24 April 2021. (Source Our World in Data, Fully vaccinated implies two jabs of the vaccine with a specific time period post-second jab)+. This is low compared to the US at 27.8 percent, Israel (55.3 percent), United Kingdom (18.1 percent). Refer to the graph above. + Refer to your region or country for specific definition. Example in the US fully vaccinated means 14 days after second shot of Pfizer or Moderna or 14 days post a single shot of J&J vaccine.
The author Nishant, founder of The middle Road platform suffered from COVID-19 but has fully recovered from the infection.