Remdesivir is a broad-spectrum antiviral drug that has become popular because of its ability to treat coronavirus disease. Developed to treat Ebola, the drug was repurposed as an emergency use drug against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) by the US FDA in October 2020. It was never used to treat any specific condition earlier and was being researched as a potential treatment for several diseases like hepatitis before becoming a virtual lifesaver.
Remdesivir is used to treat COVID-19 infection caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It stops the COVID virus from spreading in the body and causing severe disease.
In an international controlled trial using 1063 patients, those with advanced COVID and significant lung damage who received Remdesivir recovered faster – reducing the need for ventilators – compared to similar patients who received placebo. Similarly, patients who received the drug recovered 31% faster than those who received a placebo.
Remdesivir can cause serious side effects both during the time of infusion or after it. These are –
1. How to take Remdesivir?
Remdesivir is slowly injected into a vein of hospitalized COVID-19 patients over half an hour to two hours by a doctor or a nurse. It comes as a liquid and powder, mixed and slowly injected under supervision. The drug should only be injected in a hospital.
2. How many doses of Remdesivir are needed for treating COVID-19?
Remdesivir is usually infused once daily for five to 10 days, depending on the patient's condition. The duration of treatment depends on how well the patient responds. The day-1 loading dose is usually 200 mg IV, and this is generally followed by an infusion of 100 mg.
3. Is Remdesivir effective for treating COVID pneumonia?
Remdesivir is usually used as a combo therapy along with the rheumatoid arthritis drug baricitinib to manage patients with moderate to severe COVID pneumonia. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has shown that patients treated with it recovered 30 % faster from COVID pneumonia than those given a placebo.
4. Can Remdesivir cause liver damage?
Remdesivir can cause elevated liver enzymes that can lead to liver injury. Patients should undergo appropriate tests to monitor their liver and kidney function before Remdesivir treatment and during therapy to detect problems early. A patient also needs to be vigilant about the ingredients in the drug.
5. How long should one wait to take a COVID vaccine jab after getting Remdesivir?
There are no precise instructions on how long to wait for taking a COVID jab after getting Remdesivir therapy. CDC does advise that recovered COVID patients should wait 90 days before getting jabbed. Follow this simple instruction. You can also ask the doctor and proceed accordingly to be safe!
6. Is Remdesivir something you can take at home?
Regardless of whether they have mild, moderate, or severe COVID disease, only hospitalized patients can and should be treated with Remdesivir. This drug has serious side effects and can cause long-term damage to the liver and kidneys. There are no benefits associated with its use if one has mild COVID disease.
7. When should a COVID-19 patient take Remdesivir?
A patient should only take Remdesivir if he has moderate to severe COVID disease that requires oxygen support, as the drug will benefit him the most now. According to research, patients with moderate COVID-19 receiving Remdesivir show faster improvement in symptoms. Remdesivir has also been shown to shorten the duration of patient hospital stays significantly, and it is associated with fewer deaths.
8. Where should you look for Remdesivir?
Remdesivir is available at various pharma major's official websites. Dr. Reddy's, for example, lists details on the availability of this drug and Favipiravir used to treat COVID. A few websites list hospitals and pharma shops in different Indian cities with the availability of Remdesivir along with their phone numbers and addresses.
9. What are the risks and warnings for Remdesivir?
The medication can cause liver damage and is thus contraindicated for patients who already show signs of liver damage, have severe kidney problems, are pregnant or breastfeeding, and are under 12 years.
10. Can I get treated with Remdesivir?
If a patient has any reaction during administration, the drug should be stopped immediately by the monitoring doctor.
You are recommended to get Remdesivir only if you suffer from moderate to severe COVID-19 disease. If you are being treated at home for COVID, you should not use this drug as it has significant side effects. Remdesivir has also only been shown to shorten the duration of severely ill patients' hospital stays.