Guwahati, Tuesday, June 30, 2020
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11 fatalities in State may not all be due to COVID
Rituraj Borthakur
 GUWAHATI, June 29 - There has been no case of COVID-19 complication in the State, and those patients who needed critical care – only a handful of them – had multiple ailments.

Currently, there are ten patients in the ICU of GMCH, two on ventilator and three requiring oxygen support.

“However, the critical care was required due to their co-morbidities. Ninety per cent of the patients are asymptomatic. Others had fever and cough, while there were two/ three cases of diarrhea,” State’s COVID-19 Nodal Officer Dr Basanta Hazarika told The Assam Tribune.

Even though the State recorded eleven casualties, doctors are also not sure if the deaths could be attributed to COVID-19 as all the patients had co-morbidities and suffering other critical ailments.

“It is difficult to say if the patients died due to COVID-19,” Dr Hazarika said.

Elaborating on the treatment protocol followed in the State, another senior doctor of GMCH – which is at the frontline of this fight against the pandemic – said symptomatic patients are shifted to the dedicated COVID hospital in GMCH, which is located away from the old hospital and is a self sufficient unit with state of the art facilities including 200-plus ward beds and 50 ICU beds with central AC and UV filter for the virus (only such facility in eastern India).

“The patient is taken by a separate dedicated corridor to the ward. He or she is basically given supportive care with Vitamin C and B complex and Azithromycin tablets (antibiotic used for treatment of bacterial infections) for 5 days if there are respiratory complains. For fever, paracetamol is administered,” he said.

The patient is retested on 7 to 10th day of the first positive report and if this second sample is also positive, then they are retested after three days again.

“The patient is given Ivermactin 12mg single dose and doxycyclin 100 mg twice daily for 5 days if this repeat testing comes positive,” the doctors said.

Ivermectin is a US Food and Drug Administration-approved anti-parasite drug used to treat some parasitic worms, while doxycycline is an antibiotic. The combination of these two drugs has been hailed by doctors in Bangladesh for yielding “astounding results” as a therapy for COVID-19.

“However, if a patient is asymptomatic but positive in second testing (7-10days of first positive test), then Ivermactin and Doxycyclin is not given,” he said.

No specific drugs are used to treat the COVID-19 virus and seriously ill patient are sometimes put on steroids.

The doctor said ICU treatment is basically for comorbidities and ARDS (acute respiratory disease syndrome).

The State Health Department has also placed orders for two more anti-virals - Remdesivir and Favipiravir. Remdesivir is an antiviral that was used for the treatment of Ebola and has been repurposed for treatment of Covid-19. It was originally developed by US-based biopharma company Gilead Sciences. Favipiravir is an antiviral given to inhibit viral replication. It is used as an anti-influenza drug. Originally it was manufactured by Japan’s Fujifilm Toyama Chemical Ltd.

Till now in Assam, only government hospitals are taking the whole burden of COVID-19 patients. However, beginning with Ayursundra, the State Health Department is planning to rope in private hospitals for admitting COVID-19 patients with the rise in number of cases.

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