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Remdesivir Injection

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 15/09/2022

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone was better acquainted with the medical world. We learned about preventative measures such as frequent hand washing, maintaining hygiene when you are outdoors, the importance of a healthy immune system, and the benefits of health insurance in trying times. However, despite these measures, for those who contracted the COVID-19 virus and experienced severe symptoms, medical professionals would administer the remdesivir injection after careful examination of the patient’s condition.

Despite its wide usage, the question is still there — what is remdesivir injection — and not many people know the answer, and only a few of them know the remdesivir injection uses. The information circulating through social media platforms and news portals revealed that the remdesivir injection dose for covid treatment was administered for patients who are in severe conditions; as an emergency treatment. However, since incomplete information is worse than no information at all, let us understand the remdesivir injection in some detail.

Before we begin, it is important to note that this article only intends to inform, and the information provided does not replace the recommendations of a medical practitioner.

What is the Remdesivir Injection

The remdesivir injection is an antiviral drug that is used in the treatment of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) for those patients who have been hospitalised. It is also used for the treatment of mild to moderate infection of COVID-19 amongst non-hospitalised patients whose illness can progress into severity, i.e., either hospitalisation or (in extreme cases) death.

The remdesivir injection is an antiviral medicine that is used in the treatment of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and must only be administered under medical supervision.

As a brief history of remdesivir, the medicine was initially created to treat Hepatitis C in the year 2009. However, it failed to work then and was not used effectively until the year 2014 in the treatment of the Ebola virus and other coronaviruses such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and SARS. The remdesivir injection works by getting into the RNA of the mentioned viruses, thereby preventing them from making copies of the existing virus.

The dosage form of the remdesivir medicine is either a solution or a powder solution. This solution or the powder is mixed with a liquid before being injected intravenously into patients. Prior to being injected with remdesivir, however, the patients would have to undergo some liver and kidney tests to ensure that the medicine could be safely administered to them.

Remdesivir Injection for the Treatment of COVID-19

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gilead Sciences Inc. – the company behind the remdesivir, initiated trials and found the drug to be effective in treating the SARS-COV-2-causing viruses. The remdesivir injection uses are similar to the drug’s treatment in SARS-CoV-2: it works by preventing the virus from replicating in the body. According to some research, however, the remdesivir injection dose for covid treatment can lead to a slower recovery for COVID-19 patients.

Following the clinical trial of the drug, its emergency use was authorised in as many as 50 countries. These included India, Japan, Singapore, the European Union, the United States, and Australia for patients experiencing severe symptoms. Despite the authorisation, the drug must exclusively be administered strictly in a hospital setting and never at home. Here are some details about the use of remdesivir in India:

  • The Use of Remdesivir in India

In July 2020, the National Clinical Management Protocol for Covid-19 authorised the use of remdesivir to treat COVID-19 patients in India. Currently, however, the drug has only been approved to treat patients with mild COVID-19 infections who require oxygen support.

  • Has the Remdesivir been Authorised by WHO or ICMR?

Remdesivir has been authorised by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) as an investigational drug, and its use has been approved as an emergency in the treatment of COVID-19 patients. Yet, the ICMR has cautioned that remdesivir is “not a life-saving drug in COVID-19” and does not reduce mortality.

The World Health Organisation (WHO), on the other hand, has issued a conditional recommendation only for the use of remdesivir in patients who have been hospitalised.

  • The Effect of Remdesivir on COVID-19

Studies conducted in the beginning revealed that a faster recovery had been observed for the patients who had been hospitalised. It was also suggested that the remdesivir treatment reduced the likelihood of requiring a higher level of respiratory support.

Trials and reviews in the latter half revealed that there was little to no impact of remdesivir on recovery time and improvement, patient mortality, and the need for ventilation.

What are the Side Effects of Remdesivir?

In addition to the required effects, a medicine may also cause some unwanted repercussions. While not all of the below-mentioned side effects may occur, if they do, the patient might require immediate medical attention. Considering this, here are the side effects of remdesivir:

Common Side-Effects:

  • Back pain
  • Cough
  • Fever and/or Chills
  • Headache
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Continuing Stomach Pain
  • Unusual Tiredness or Weakness

Adverse and Less Common Side-Effects:

  • Increased level of liver enzymes
  • Seizures
  • Low potassium
  • Low red-blood-cell count
  • Gastrointestinal distress
  • Respiratory failure
  • Skin Rash

If the patient experiences any of these aforementioned symptoms, it is advised to immediately seek medical attention.

A Few Words About Insurance: Why is it important?

The pandemic harshly taught us how medical emergencies arise at any time, highlighting the importance of health insurance. A medical insurance plan that covers COVID-19 can help deal with the financial aspect so the patient can focus on their speedy recovery. Moreover, with the advent of technology, insurance seekers can buy health insurance online.

When you buy health insurance online, you can compare different policies to find a suitable cover for yourself based on your healthcare requirements. A medical insurance plan assisted several patients in looking after their medical expenses during the pandemic. In these trying times, health insurance helped with the hospitalisation expenses that had been soaring during the pandemic.

The pandemic revealed that whether it is medical inflation, financial damage, or the high cost of medical treatment, having a medical insurance plan is imperative.

The Bottom Line

The remdesivir injection has played an important role in containing the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic however, it is not to be used unless prescribed by the doctor. Remdesivir is an expensive injection, and for many people, it is difficult to afford without the assistance of medical insurance. However, during the 2nd wave of COVID-19, the government intervened and directed pharma companies to reduce the remdesivir injection cost.

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