Coronavirus outbreak: Tamiflu given to treat COVID-19 patients at KEM hospital

Updated: Apr 12, 2020, 07:09 IST | Arita Sarkar | Mumbai

The hospital, which has been only admitting seriously ill patients, is prescribing Tamiflu and anti-retroviral drugs for critical patients

Mumbai policemen get checked at Grand Road on Saturday. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Mumbai policemen get checked at Grand Road on Saturday. Pic/Bipin Kokate

More than 60 patients of COVID-19 have died in the city and of them, around 10 patients have died at KEM Hospital alone, over the past 12 days. The civic-run hospital had a high death count, since, unlike other hospitals in the city, KEM Hospital is only admitting patients who are in a serious condition, and are either undergoing dialysis treatment or are on ventilator.

While asymptomatic COVID-19 patients are not given any medication, patients with mild symptoms are given hydroxychloroquine and an antibiotic called azithromycin. The patients with severe symptoms, however, need additional medication to fight the infection. Dr Hemant Deshmukh, dean of KEM Hospital said that the hospital has a maximum capacity of 16 patients. "Patients who are suffering from acute respiratory distress syndrome are treated with anti-retroviral medication and Tamiflu," he said. He added that until Friday, KEM Hospital has had 137 patients.

Apart from KEM Hospital, many patients displaying severe symptoms in hospitals across the city are being treated with Tamiflu and anti-retroviral medication. Dr Gautam Bhansali, consultant physician with Bombay Hospital, a member of the BMC Task Force Committee and one of the nodal officers at Seven Hill Hospital, said, "There is evidence that Tamiflu can help reduce the virulence and infectivity of the virus. A majority of the serious patients require these additional medications since their immunity has been compromised."

Dr Deshmukh explained that there are certain markers that indicate if a patient is in acute respiratory distress. "If the oxygen saturation is less than 90 per cent, then we give them Tamiflu," he said. A person would ideally have an oxygen saturation of 98 per cent and the normal range for the respiratory rate is 12-16 breaths per minute.

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