Thursday, January 28, 2021 | ePaper

Experts advise not to use unproven drugs to treat Covid-19

  • Print
Staff Reporter :
As the search for a remedy to COVID-19 continues in full swing, the national technical advisory committee on the coronavirus has warned against using any unproven medicine or plasma therapy to treat coronavirus cases aside from the patients participating in the clinical trials of these treatment methods.
Doctors in Bangladesh have been administering various drugs to alleviate the symptoms of the disease, including remdesivir, which is being tested as a specific treatment for COVID-19, and ivermectin, alongside convalescent plasma therapy.
According to them, the absence of a proven medicine is leading them to use these drugs to treat patients although they acknowledged that more research to be done to determine their viability.
Experts, however, are wary about the application of any drug before its efficacy is clinically tested and proven.
The Directorate General of Drug Administration approves the protocol for clinical trials of a medicine in the country while Bangladesh Medical Research Council or BMRC issues the ethical clearance.
Notably, both these institutions claim that no healthcare provider in the country has sought their permission to use any drug for the treatment of COVID-19 patients on an experimental basis.
Bangladesh has recently begun the clinical trial of plasma therapy, which involves collecting a blood sample from a recovered COVID-19 patient and transfusing separated plasma to a critically ill patient
Plasma is a clear part of blood that is left when the blood cells have been removed and contain antibodies and other proteins.
The immune system of an infected person creates natural antibodies to fight the virus. The antibodies grow in number over time in the plasma of an infected person. Through plasma therapy, the antibodies are used to treat other infected patients.
The DGHS has formed a committee to oversee the clinical trial of plasma therapy which is being offered at different hospitals.
Families of COVID-19 patients are pleading with patients who already recovered from the illness to donate their plasma.
On May 16, Dhaka Medical College Hospital began the process of collecting plasma. They collected plasma from 21 people as of May 28.
As part of the clinical trial, these have been administered to 18 patients, four of whom were receiving treatment in DMCH, said Dr MA Khan, head of the hospital's Hematology Department.
The DMC Research Ethics Committee approved the initiative, and according to the testing protocol, they'll apply it on 45 patients, according to Khan.
"There's no harm in trying to treat COVID-19 with plasma therapy, since there is no medicine available as yet. Now everyone is using the process in their own capacity. We can know the details and results of plasma therapy if it is applied in a controlled manner," he said.
He urged the DGHS to ensure that plasma therapy is used in hospitals across the country in line with the rules.
Earlier, doctors in Bangladesh Medical College Hospital administered ivermectin and doxycycline to 100 patients, but they have since stopped using it on patients, said Prof Tarek Alam Khan, internal medicine and respiratory tract disease specialist.
"I saw a study in Australia that got fruitful results from using this medicine. I tried it on our patients and got good results. I believe we should try it on our patients," he said.
"We're preparing the protocol and may submit it to BMRC by next Tuesday. We expect to get approval for the trial on Jun 10, when they have a meeting scheduled," he added.
Although the DGHS 'guideline' on COVID-19 treatment does not include the use of ivermectin and doxycycline, the medicines are being administered to patients in DMCH, Central Police Hospital and some other public hospitals outside Dhaka.
Central Police Hospital's Director Hassan-ul-Haider said both the drugs were used to treat more than 500 patients with COVID-19 symptoms since Apr 25.
The results have been good so far but it still requires detailed research, he said.
The DGHS guideline, however, makes no mention of the drugs and when asked why the hospital is still using them, Hassan said, "Ivermectin and doxycycline are not new medicines. They have no side effects and are easily available at a low cost.
"I have applied them on some of the patients in my hospital who had severe symptoms and they recovered. I haven't treatedĀ  them with any other medicine."

More News For this Category

Hearing on charge framing in 2 cases against Khaleda Feb 10

Court Correspondent :The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) Court of Dhaka yesterday fixed February 10 for hearing on charge framing in two cases lodged against BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia

3 killed in Dinajpur road crash

UNB, Dinajpur :Three people were killed when a truck hit a motorbike at Farakkabad Joynul Mudikhana in Birol upazila of Dinajpur district on Tuesday night.The deceased were identified as

Faruki murder probe report submission deferred

Court Correspondent :A Dhaka court yesterday fixed March 4 for submission of the probe report in the case filed in connection with the murder of Islamic scholar and TV

6 injured in Bhola pre-poll violence

Our Correspondent :In yet another instance of violence centring around the municipal elections in Bangladesh, supporters of two councillor candidates of Ward-1 of Bhola municipality became embroiled in multiple

Bus crash in western Cameroon kills 53 passengers

AP At least 53 people have died and 21 others were injured in Cameroon when a bus collided with a truck early Wednesday in a village in the western

Bangladeshi origin Farah appointed in US Agriculture Dept

News Desk :Bangladeshi origin Farah Ahmad appointed as the Chief of Staff in the US Agriculture Department.Apart from Ahmad, five others have been appointed to the US Department of

Dhaka wants to hear good news on Teesta from Delhi

UNB, Dhaka :Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen today said Bangladesh wants to hear a positive news on Teesta water sharing and simultaneously continue discussions on water sharing of other

Ekattor TV video editor killed in road accident

Staff ReporterĀ  :An employee of private television channel Ekattor TV has been killed in a road accident near Baridhara's Nadda area in Dhaka.A victor classic bus knocked down the

EU asks Bangladesh to bring 700 people

News Desk :The European Union offered Bangladesh support for taking initiative to bring home about 700 Bangladeshis stranded in freezing temperatures without basic humane housing conditions in the Balkan

Results of 40th BCS written exams published

News Desk :The Public Service Commission has announced the results of the 40th written examination for the Bangladesh Civil Service jobs, reports many as 10,964 candidates have provisionally