Coronavirus Outbreak: 1,400 Mumbai patients to get Remdesivir

Updated: Jul 06, 2020, 07:25 IST | Arita Sarkar | Mumbai

BMC will also ramp up rapid antigen testing to 2,000 patients per day

BMC doctors and Asha workers in Dharavi. Pics/Suresh Karkera
BMC doctors and Asha workers in Dharavi. Pics/Suresh Karkera

After being caught up in the tendering process, medical equipment and supplies have finally reached some civic hospitals. A portion of the supply of Remdesivir, enough for 1,400 patients, reached them on Sunday, and the civic body could soon float another tender for more. While the rapid antigen tests started in the city two days ago, the testing rate is below 500 samples a day, and so far 40 quarantine patients have tested positive.

P Velarasu, additional municipal commissioner, said the civic body has ordered Remdesivir as per the requirement for 3-4 days.

"We have purchased Remdesivir that is sufficient for 1,400 patients. We bought it at competitive rates of R4,200 per unit from Hetero. However, after two weeks, we will test the market and if there are more players, we will float another tender to purchase it at a better rate," he said.

The BMC conducting swab tests in Mahim
The BMC conducting swab tests in Mahim

Other drug to be procured
Velarasu added that a similar strat-egy is in place for purchase of Favi-pravir, the other medication found to be effective in the treatment of COVID patients.

He added that the civic body has placed an order of 22,000 units of it, and Glenmark is the only pharmaceutical company manufacturing the drug currently.

Civic officials said that from Sunday, Remdesivir will be administered to patients. The market rate of the drug is R5,400.

Not all government hospitals, however, have received Remdesivir. While the state government had also placed an order for the drug, officials at state-run hospitals said that the supply is yet to arrive, leaving few treatment options for critical patients.

St George hospital, for instance, has 220 patients of whom 65 are in a critical condition and though plasma therapy is an alternative, none of them have been treated using it yet.

"Around three patients have donated plasma at JJ Hospital so far and we will start the therapy for critical patients this week. We are using Tocilizumab for critical patients currently," said Dr Akash Khobragade, medical superintendent of St George Hospital.

Apart from the RT- PCR tests for COVID-19 that take upto 24 hours to process the results, from July 3 onwards, the civic body started using rapid antigen testing kits that can produce results within 30 minutes. The testing was done among high-risk contacts at quarantine facilities, especially in North Mumbai.

Few antigen tests happening
Additional Municipal Commissioner, Suresh Kakani said that so far, 750 rapid antigen tests have been carried out and among them around 40 patients have tested positive.

"Based on the symptoms, we are testing people in quarantine facilities using antigen kits and when they test positive, they are moved to isolation. Our priority is to test people at the quarantine centres in wards that have a high count of cases, or a higher growth rate, first. In the coming week, we are working towards getting 2,000 tests done per day," said Kakani.

In comparison to Delhi where more than 4,000 antigen tests were being carried out in the first week that they were introduced, Mumbai has a lower count and is testing less than 500 patients a day.

Among the wards where rapid antigen kits were used, R South, R Central and R North, till date, 280 people have been tested, of whom 11 have tested positive.
In T ward (Mulund), that has the highest growth rate in the city, out of 79 tests, nine tested positive and in P North ward (Malad), 77 people were tested and five were positive. These numbers are included in the 40.

Sanjog Kabare, assistant municipal commissioner of P North ward said, "The testing was done on Friday and those who tested positive were immediately shifted to the CCC2 facility."

No. of units of the other medicine, Favipravir, ordered by the BMC

No. of patients that can be treated with the stock of Remdesivir

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