Everything you need to know about the 2nd Wave of COVID-19, Remdesivir and Tocilizumab

BY: Dr Vijaya Bhaskar Reddypogu - 23 May-2021

The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on India’s health. There are a lot of questions about 2nd wave of COVID-19, the effectiveness of Remdesivir and Tocilizumab answered by Dr Vijaya Bhaskar Reddypogu, Medical Director, OMNI Hospitals, Kurnool. 

What is the difference between 1st & 2nd Wave of COVID-19?

The 2nd wave is lethal comparing to the 1st one. During the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in India, the mutations did not play a major role, but the current surge in Covid-19 cases is mainly due to the homegrown mutant variants of SARS-CoV-2. This time it is affecting young people and 50 per cent infections are from among people below 45 years.


Does Remdesivir cure COVID-19?

Remdesivir is not a miracle drug which decreases mortality. It may be used as an anti-viral drug but it’s of no use if given early to asymptomatic individuals/ones with mild symptoms. And also no use, if given late and not for patients who are on ventilator support.


Can Remdesivir be given at home?

No. Remdesivir should be administered in a hospital or a healthcare system which can provide a similar level of care to an inpatient hospital and it should be given to patients who have symptoms like high fever and oxygen saturation levels that requires constant monitoring.


What is Tocilizumab? What is its importance?

Tocilazumab is required by very few number of patients. It is mainly used to treat cytokine storm, but not for treatment of COVID-19.


What is cytokine storm?

It is a severe immune reaction in which the body releases too many cytokines into the blood too quickly. Cytokines play an important role in normal immune responses, but when a certain pathway is engaged the immune system starts causing damage to the patient.


Is RTPCR the right choice of investigation?

Nowadays it is the test of choice. But there are chances of false negative (20 – 30%). So negative doesn’t rule out COVID-19.  


Advice for people suffering from COVID?

Please don’t panic. If you have mild fever, then medications prescribed by your doctor can help you recover. Steam inhalation and warm water gargle should be done twice in a day. Check your oxygen saturation in every 2-3 hours. Use an oximeter to measure oxygen level by placing the oximeter on the middle finger of your right hand. Get your blood test and CT Test done if necessary and take medical guidance from your doctor for proper recovery. 

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