ICMR (Photo Credit: File Photo)
The Indian Council of Medical Research on Monday said antiviral drug remdesivir, which was used during the Ebola outbreak, may be highly effective in stopping the replication mechanism of SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19. The ICMR said research on its efficacy in the treatment of COVID-19 is a part of WHO's "Solidarity Trial".
According to a recently published study in the New England Journal of Medicine, two out of three critically ill coronavirus infected patients who were on oxygen support or on ventilators showed signs of improvement when they were administered remdesivir.
Commenting on the study, Head of Epidemiology and Communicable diseases at ICMR Raman R Gangakhedkar said that drug which was used against Ebola virus, according to the researchers, hinders the reproduction of coronavirus which is why they believe that it could be effective in COVID-19 treatment.
"Recently reported study on use of remdesivir for COVID-19 treatment is not a clinical trial, but an observational study which found that 68 per cent or two out of three patients after treatment with the drug did not require ventilator support or their need for oxygen support reduced.
We will come to know of further developments through the WHO Solidarity Trial, which has an arm which is looking into this," he said. He further said that remdesivir, developed by Gilead Sciences Inc, is not presently available in the country and the government is working on to see if any pharmaceutical company can manufacture it.
The death toll due to coronavirus rose to 324 and the number of cases in the country climbed to 9,352 on Monday, according to the Union Health Ministry. However, a PTI tally of figures reported by various states as on Monday evening showed at least 9,975 cases and 346 deaths.
There has been a lag in the Union Health Ministry figures, compared to the number of cases announced by different states, which officials attribute to procedural delays in assigning the cases to individual states.