New Delhi | Jagran Lifestyle Desk: Social media has been flooded with messages in which people have been asking for the antiviral drug Remdesivir for their friends and family members who have tested positive for the highly contagious COVID-19 infection.

Remdesivir, which has been developed by the biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, has emerged as an unlikely saviour for severe and critical COVID-19 patients in India. However, the massive spike in cases has led to a shortage of crucial antiviral drug, forcing people to look for them here and there.

While the demand for Remdesivir has suddenly increased across the country, medical experts and researchers have warned that the "unnecessary" use of the antiviral drug can do "more harm than good".

AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria during a conversation with experts across the country on Sunday clarified that Remdesivir neither reduces the hospital stay nor saves lives.

Noting that Remdesivir is no "magic bullet", Dr Guleria said that the antiviral drug can help moderate to severe COVID-19 patients but it can complicate matters if administered in mild cases.

"The COVID-19 infection is a normal infection. 85 to 90 per cent of people are witnessing normal symptoms like fever, cold, body ache, and cough and in these cases, one doesn’t need Remdesivir or other large numbers of medicines," Dr Guleria was quoted as saying in a Union Health Ministry statement.

"You can take medicines for these normal infections or treat yourself with home remedies and yoga. You will back to normal and get well within seven or 10 days. You don’t need to put Remdesivir or oxygen in your house," he said.

Notably, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had earlier too highlighted that Remdesivir cannot "reduce the duration of hospitalisation" of COVID-19 patients.

"The evidence suggested no important effect on mortality, need for mechanical ventilation, time to clinical improvement, and other patient-important outcomes," it had said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Centre has waived off the customs duty on Remdesivir and its raw materials to lower its cost and increase supply in the country till October this year.

India, on the other hand, reported more than 3.52 lakh, the biggest-ever one-day spike across the world, that pushed the country's active case tally past 28.13 lakh. Meanwhile, over 2,800 fatalities were reported during the same period that took the death toll to 1.95 lakh.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma