Kashmir hospitals run out of Remdesivir as COVID-19 crisis worsens

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Three major hospitals treating hundreds of COVID-19 patients in Kashmir valley have run out of supplies of Remdesivir, an antiviral medicine which is approved for the treatment of critical patients.

Multiple sources have told The Kashmir Walla that SKIMS Soura, Chest Disease Hospital, and SMHS Hospital have run out of the medicine. 

The three hospitals form the main circuit of the COVID19 treatment in Kashmir valley and house most of the critical patients. 

“We are out of supply (of Remdesivir) for the last three days, today is the fourth day,” Dr. Nazir Chaudhary, the Medical Superintendent at SMHS Hospital, told The Kashmir Walla. 

He said there is no update on when the supplies will be available.

G. H. Yatoo, the nodal officer for COVID-19 at Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Soura, also told The Kashmir Walla that the Valley’s largest tertiary care center has exhausted the supplies of Remdesivir.

“There is no alternative to Remdesivir,” Yatoo said. “The suppliers are not sending, we have even placed new orders but haven’t received anything yet. What can we do?”

However, Yatoo said that the hospital is using other treatments available with them.

An attendant of a COVID-19 patient claimed the medicine is also not available at the Chest Disease Hospital and he was asked by the doctors to “arrange (it) on your own.”

“Doctors didn’t say where to bring it from. … they told me there is deficiency everywhere,” the attendant said.

Remdesivir had become the first drug that was formally cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration for treating coronavirus in October 2020. Though the World Health Organisation had advised against its usage, India has approved it for the use for severely ill patients, who require oxygen support. 

In the past few days, Kashmir’s Twitter space has been flooded with SOS alerts and people make frantic search for the drug as the unprecedented second wave of the coronavirus has rattled the region.

Additional reporting by Pirzada Shakir

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