Editor in Chief Dr KK Aggarwal, Padma Shri Awardee                                                                               Dated:18 April,2020

Covid-19: Kerala institute ready for plasma trials, but has no patients to test

New Delhi: Kerala’s Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, the first to get all approvals to start clinical testing of convalescent plasma therapy for Covid-19 patients, may not get an immediate opportunity to begin trials because the state no longer has critically ill cases — the main requirement to test the efficacy of the treatment.
The Thiruvananthapuram-based institute, which is an institute of national importance under the Department of Science and Technology, received the clearances from the Indian Council of Medical Research a week ago to conduct clinical trials for plasma therapy, which uses antibodies from the blood of cured patients to treat others....read more

CMAAO Coronavirus Facts and Myth Buster 60: Off Label Policy

Off label use of Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin in COVID-19
A plea has been filed in the Supreme Court that seeks directions to the government to introduce necessary changes in the treatment guidelines for seriously ill COVID-19 patients, who are being given a combination of anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine and antibiotic azithromycin, claiming that they have serious side effects....read more

CMAAO Coronavirus Facts and Myth Buster 59: AC Special

With inputs from Mr Ashish Rakheja (AEON Integrated Building Design Consultants) and Dr K K Kalra (former CEO NABH)
Why we are talking about AC as a concern
From January 26 to February 10, 2020, an outbreak of 2019 novel coronavirus disease in an air-conditioned restaurant in Guangzhou, China, involved 3 family clusters. The airflow direction was consistent with droplet transmission. In order to prevent the spread of the virus in restaurants, it was recommended that the distance between tables should be increased and ventilation to be improved. ....read more

Why do We Burn Camphor in Any Pooja?

No Aarti is performed without camphor. Camphor, when lit, burns itself out completely without leaving a trace.
Camphor represents our inherent tendencies or vasanas. When lit by the fire of knowledge about the self, the vasanas burn themselves out completely, not leaving a trace of ego. ....read more

Health Sutras By Dr K K Aggarwal

Eat 7 colours and 6 tastes



Healthcare News Monitor

India removes export curbs on formulations from Paracetamol
The Hindu- N. Ravi Kumar

The Centre has permitted the export of formulations made from Paracetamol. The government has, however, decided to continue with the restriction on export of Paracetamol APIs that were placed, along with that on export of the formulations, on March 3. On Friday, a Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) notification said the March 3 order is “further amended to the extent that the formulations made from Paracetamol, including FDC (fixed dose combinations), under any ITCHS code…, are made ‘Free’ for export with immediate effect. However, Paracetamol APIs will remain restricted for export. A common fever medication globally, Paracetamol is the most sought after and widely used drug ever since the COVID-19 outbreak. According to sources, India is among the leading manufacturers of Paracetamol globally. Some of the major producers are Farmson Pharmaceuticals, Granules, Sri Krishna Pharma and Bharat Chemicals. The production capacity is estimated to be 5,000 tonnes a month. From an export perspective, it is a low value, high volume product. Paracetamol and its formulations were among the 13 APIs and their formulations that figured in the March 3 notification. Barring Paracetamol and formulations made from it, the DGFT had on April 6 allowed export of the 12 APIs and formulations made from them. With the latest notification, only Paracetamol continued to be ‘Restricted’ for export.

Sick doctors, shut hospitals, no guidelines — a Wockhardt doctor on India’s Covid response
The Print- Ramen Goel

Governments around the world are rapidly expanding their healthcare capacity in response to the coronavirus pandemic. In India, however, hospitals are faced with a different kind of threat. Instead of being at the frontline providing treatment to Covid-19 patients, healthcare professionals themselves are falling prey to the disease. And overcautious local health authorities – in an attempt to limit the virus spread — have shut down many hospitals with infected staff such as Wockhardt, Jaslok, Bhatia, Hinduja Khar, and Breach Candy among others, and designated them as ‘containment zones’. This has shaken public faith in the healthcare system. Unlike in China’s Wuhan, where healthcare workers (HCW) were infected while treating Covid-19 patients, many unsuspecting Indian healthcare workers have been infected by asymptomatic patients visiting for non-Covid treatments. For instance, a patient in Mumbai visiting Jaslok Hospital for a routine dialysis treatment later tested positive and may have infected others at the hospital.

Surge in prices of ingredients of drugs used against Covid-19
The Times of India- Rupali Mukherjee

Prices of raw materials, also called active pharmaceutical ingredients (API), and basic chemicals used to manufacture Covid drugs have skyrocketed between three and 10 times since March 20, due to opportunistic pricing, black marketing, short supply and weakening of the rupee. The maximum increase — around 10-fold — is in case of API of hydroxychloroquine, which shot into limelight after US President Trump touted it as a potential Covid-19 treatment, while prices of others, including azithromycin, ivermectin and vitamin D3 have either doubled or trebled, over the last three weeks. API prices of hydroxychloroquine have touched around Rs 70,000 per kg, from around Rs 6,500 per kg (February), and Rs 7,500 per kg (March), at least four market intermediaries told TOI. In addition, limited quantity of the basic drug is available in the market, exerting further price pressure. Two main producers of hydroxychloroquine — mainly used for arthritis and lupus -- include Ipca Labs and Zydus Cadila, which manufacture both APIs and finished formulation (drug). “We have not sold any API recently. We need to service large government orders — both central government and state. There is no change in the domestic formulation prices in India. But the cost of producing API has more than doubled, with basic chemicals and raw materials from China going up by five to six times,” said Ipca labs joint managing director AK Jain.

Coronavirus Lockdown VII: What India can learn from COVID-19 hit nations
Business Today- Prasanna Mohanty

One of the great ironies of the fight against COVID-19 is that the countries going through the worst nightmares are the ones with the best scientific, technological and financial resources. They are members of the elite OECD club. What makes them so vulnerable to the pandemic? Why have they failed to respond quickly and effectively to save their people? Several academic institutions have gone into these questions and come up with a list of lessons that the governments of these countries need to learn. Whether any lessons are learnt remains to be seen. Nevertheless, there is little doubt that these lessons are equally relevant for India and hence, need to be told. Here are some of the most critical ones. Policy approach: Privatisation denies access to the most vulnerable: A research paper of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) says COVID-19 has put "unprecedented pressure" on European healthcare systems and that there are at least two early lessons to be learnt in terms of healthcare policies.