close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

Punjab approves Covid-19 drug for trial use

Top Story

May 29, 2020

LAHORE: A meeting of healthcare professionals, led by Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid, on Thursday approved a drug for use by seriously-ill Covid-19 patients, on the prescription of pulmonologists.

The meeting, attended by vice chancellors, principals, medical superintendents and officials of the Specialised Healthcare and Medical Education Department (SH&MED), approved Actemra – interleukin-6 inhibitor with generic name of Tocilizumab – an immune-suppressant, for use by serious Covid-19 patients on prescription only.

However, the provincial government is yet to formally approve the drug, recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for Covid-19 patients, until positive outcome of its use by patients strictly on the recommendation of pulmonologists.

Besides, Remdesivir, an anti-viral drug, is also being used for treatment of coronavirus patients. Dr Yasmin Rashid said Actemra’s trial use has been started on Covid-19 patients, whose result will be reviewed for formal approval of use of the drug on coronavirus patients. “We will review the effects of new medicines and positive developments, if any, after 10 days,” she said, while strictly maintaining that the medicines must not be allowed for use without the permission of the Corona Experts Advisory Group (CEAG).

Earlier, the VCs, MSs and principals shared their findings on amended treatment protocols of Covid-19 patients, revealing that the drug, prescribed by pulmonologists, had shown encouraging results. On their recommendation, the minister allowed the use of medicines approved by the WHO recently. The minister directed the managements of teaching hospitals to procure the medicine, if necessary, for use on critical Covid-19 patients.

“The procurement of medicines will be made strictly according to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and must be uploaded to the department’s portal,” she added. A single dose of Actemra, an IV injection, costs Rs60,000.

She said that presently 204 patients in Punjab are in critical condition, while the intensive care units (ICUs) and ventilators were available for more patients.

According to the daily report of Primary and Secondary Healthcare (P&SH) Department, issued on Thursday, the death of 19 more Covid-19 patients raised death toll to 381 in Punjab, while confirmed cases of novel coronavirus raced to 22,037 with the addition of 919 new infections in the province.

As per spokesperson for P&SH, so far 217,726 tests have been performed in the province. He said the highest number of cases have been reported in 16-30 year age group. He said that 6,236 patients have recovered and sent back to their homes, 381 died while 15,420 are under treatment at different quarantine centres and health facilities.