COVID -19: The Elusive Miracle Drug

India Today|July 06, 2020

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COVID -19: The Elusive Miracle Drug
Rudra Govind runs a pharmacy in Delhi’s Shahdara. He remembers the rush for hydroxychloroquine in April when the ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) announced it as a possible prophylactic—his stock sold out within two days. Predictably, there is a similar surge in demand for two new COVID drugs—Favipiravir and Remdesivir—as they enter the market.
Sonali Acharjee

Since news broke on June 21 that pharmaceutical company Glenmark’s Favipiravir formulation FabiFlu had been cleared by the DCGI (Drug Controller General of India) for ‘restricted emergency use’ in ‘mild to moderate cases’, Govind has received daily inquiries about the medicine. It didn’t seem to matter that Favipiravir, like Remdesivir before it, was not a guaranteed treatment for COVID.

“People just hear ‘new COVID cure’ and think there is new hope, better recovery prospects,” says Dr. T. Narayanan, president of the Indian Pharmaceutical Association. But to think of these new drugs as ‘cures’ elides the caveat that “they have not been found to be effective in severe cases—the stage at which inflammation and thrombosis become hard to treat”. ‘Mild to moderate’ cases, which account for the bulk of COVID positives, typically have a high likelihood of recovering on their own.

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July 06, 2020