Video: The Doctor Who Treated 5K COVID Patients Without Remdesivir
“Remdesivir has become a fad, and it is important people are informed about it,” says Dr Ravi Arole.
With India caught unawares by the magnitude of the second wave, the SOS calls and pleas for ‘life-saving’ COVID medicines went up.
Remdesivir was one of the first medicines to gain popularity and a reputation as a 'saviour drug' for treating COVID. Eventual large-scale trials lead by the World Health Organisation found the drug to not be very effective.
But in India, the tremendous increase in demand for Remdesivir has subsequently led to a widespread black marketing of this drug.
In Jamkhed taluka of Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra, Dr Ravi Arole has treated more than 5 thousand COVID patients without Remedisvir injection.
How Has Dr Ravi Arole Been Treating His Patients Without Remdesivir?
Speaking of the rampant misuse of Remdesivir, Dr Arole explains, "Something to know about Remdesivir is that there is a time and place for it. It only works in initial stages of the infection."
“Patients in villages usually only seek medical help when the illness has worsened considerably. By this time (7 - 10 days after being infected), the stage at which Remdesivir would work has already passed.”Dr Ravi Arole
He further talks about how in all his time treating COVID patients, he hasn't seen the drug having a significant impact in terms of reducing mortality, or reducing the duration of hospitalisation.
In mild cases, Dr Arole recommends against medical intervention.
“Around 85 percent of the patients don't need Remdesivir or any medicine, but only isolation," he adds.
In more serious cases he speaks of symptomatic treatment, that has so far helped him keep their mortality rate to a minimum.
"Despite the new strain being dangerous, we have kept the death rate below 1% by not using Remdesivir," he says.
What turns a COVID Infection Fatal?
According to Dr Ravi Arole, deaths from COVID are mainly due to these three reasons,
- The patient comes to the hospital too late, and the infection has already spread to the lungs.
- Medical mismanagement and the misuse of non-essential medicines. These medicines, especially when taken in the early stages of the illness can do more harm than good.
- They may be immunocompromised, or have other illnesses that keeps their bodies from effectively fighting off the infection.
To others in the medical fraternity, Dr Arole has this to say, "we have to give our patients the right information."
“This is the time of national crisis. It is treason to make money wrongly in this situation. All medical organizations must take strong steps to prevent this.”Dr Ravi Arole
Dr Ravi Arole and his sister Dr Shobha Arole treat people in rural areas for free under the Rural Health Scheme at their Julia Hospital. During the pandemic, they have treated thousands of patients without any expensive medicines.
His late father, Dr Srikanth Arole, started working for the poor people of rural areas of Maharashtra from 1979. For his services, he has been honoured with awards such as Ramon Magsaysay, Mother Teresa and Padmabhushan.
Dr Ravi and Dr Shobha work to carry forward their father's legacy of social work.
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