Covid-19 is a new disease and there is no drug or vaccine for it as of now and the patients are being given medicines that were approved for treating other viral infections. At least five medicines have either been given a go-ahead from the government to treat coronavirus infected patients in India or are in the final stages of the trial being carried out. India has also been using hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), an antimalarial drug, for treating Covid patients. Coronavirus positive cases in India are increasing at an alarming rate. With the highest single-day spike of 16,922 cases on Thursday, India’s Covid-19 count reached 4,73,105. It is the fourth worst affected country, only behind USA, Brazil and Russia.
The treatment protocols for coronavirus are being revised from time to time based on emerging evidences. Here are the drugs, treatment presently available for coronavirus (Covid-19) and what we so far know about them:
1) Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ): It was first developed in India for the treatment of malaria. Two Indian firms, Ipca Laboratories and Zydus Cadila Ltd, are the world’s largest manufacturers of the drug. The Indian Council of Medical Research has also been using the drug to prevent infection among healthcare workers based on theoretical evidence that hydroxychloroquine does not allow the novel coronavirus, or SARS-COV2, to attach to cells. HCQ was touted as a potential coronavirus treatment by US President Donald Trump and some other global political leaders.
2) Covifor: The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has given approval to Hetero for manufacturing ‘Remdesivir’ for the treatment of Covid-19. Hetero’s generic version of Remdesivir will be marketed under the brand name ‘Covifor’ in India. It has been granted approval by DCGI for the treatment of suspected or laboratory-confirmed cases of Covid-19 in adults and children, hospitalized with severe symptoms of the disease. Covifor (Remdesivir) will be available in 100 mg vial (injectable) which has to be administered intravenously in a hospital setting under the supervision of a healthcare practitioner.
3) Fabiflu: Glenmark Pharmaceuticals has launched antiviral drug Favipiravir, under the brand name FabiFlu, for the treatment of mild to moderate Covid patients. Priced at ₹103 per tablet, the prescription-based drug will be available as a 200 mg tablet at an MRP of ₹3,500 for a strip of 34 tablets.
4) Cipremi: Cipla has launched its own remedesivir under the name of Cipremi. Cipla said it will be commercialising remdesivir through its own facilities and partnered sites. The drug will be supplied through government and open market channels, to ensure equitable distribution. The drug is most effective on those who need oxygen support. Cipla is yet to disclose the pricing for the drug.
5) Methylprednisolone: Indian doctors have been successfully using Methylprednisolone in handling moderate to severe cases of the disease. It reduces its overall mortality and is a more essential part of the treatment regimen. Also, it reduces the severity of symptoms, doctors claimed. Dexamethasone is supported by a large trial and is a cost-effective drug. It is of the same group as Methylprednisone.