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60,000 Covid cocktail in demand even at small hospitals in Maharashtra

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PUNE: One of the most expensive drugs ever to be deployed against Covid-19 has found its way to hospitals and nursing homes across small towns like Akluj in Solapur district and Jaysinghpur in Kolhapur district.
The drug, a cocktail of two fasting-acting lab-made (monoclonal) antibodies, can cost as much as Rs 60,000. Despite the price, the demand is being pushed up by at-risk patients hoping to avoid serious Covid and steroids during treatment. And doctors in small towns, often with limited infrastructure and keen on reducing patients’ hospitalisation period, are reporting positive outcomes.
Physician Dhanesh Gandhi, with the Akluj Critical Care and Trauma Centre, said he has been able to treat 52 mild to moderate Covid patients with a pre-existing medical condition with the antibody cocktail, ever since its availability improved from June 20.
“Except for three patients, the rest reported recovery within 48 hours of therapy,” Gandhi said, adding that he knows of at least four other nursing homes in Akluj that have deployed the therapy.
In Jaysinghpur, physician Pravin Jain said 20 patients were given the antibody cocktail, with good results, at his 30-bed Sanjeevan Hospital. “A majority of them were senior citizens. The oldest recipient is 86,” Jain said.
The antibody cocktail is a single-dose shot, given through a drip, that takes up to 45 minutes. A patient is then put under observation for 30-60 minutes or 24-48 hours, depending on need.

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