New Delhi [India], April 16 (ANI): Amid the sudden surge in COVID-19 cases across the country, several states have witnessed shortage of the anti-viral drug Remdesivir and medical oxygen.
Several states have been witnesssing shortage of Remdesivir, as in Pune, relatives of COVID-19 patients staged a sit-in protest outside Collector's office demanding the supply of Remdesivir injections.
The Additional Collector of Maharashtra's Pune Vijay Singh Deshmukh said that the Pune district's demand for Remdesivir injections has not met over the last several days.
"The daily demand for Remdesivir in Pune district is about 18,000 injections per day. We have demanded 45,000 doses but we received the first consignment of 600 injections, later (on the next day) we received 300 injections stock, and yesterday we received about 1,200 injections," he said.
Meanwhile, Centre is taking various steps to ensure easy access of Remdesivir to patients and hospitals and for that matter it has prohibited exports of Remdesivir injection and Remdesivir active pharmaceutical ingredients till the COVID situation in the country improves.
Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Wednesday told ANI that the current total installed capacity of the seven manufacturers of Remdesivir is 38.80 lakh vials per month.
"Now fast-track approval has been given for the monthly production of around 80 lakh vials," Mandaviya said.
"As an additional measure, Remdesivir, API, and formulation were placed under the export ban from April 11 by DGFT to increase the supply of Remdesivir in the domestic market. On government intervention, Remdesivir supplies of approximately four lakh vials meant for export is being diverted by manufacturers to fulfill the domestic requirement," the Union Minister further said.
Meanwhile, 200 boxes containing 9,264 vials of COVID-19 drug Remdesivir injection reached Madhya Pradesh on Thursday.
Gujarat High Court, on a suo motu case on the COVID-19 situation in the state, said that the state government should make people aware of when to take Remdesivir injection.
"You should make people aware about when to take Remdesivir injection," said Gujarat High Court.
Apart from the drug, there is a shortage of medical oxygen in many states. To deal with the increased demand for medical oxygen amid the surge in COVID-19 cases, the Centre on Thursday said a tender will be finalised to import 50,000 metric tons (MT) of medical oxygen and possible sources will be identified by the Ministry of External Affairs.
Medical oxygen is a critical component in the treatment of COVID affected patients. There has been increasing demand for medical oxygen, especially from the 12 states with high burden of active COVID cases viz.- Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.
While the demand in Maharashtra expected to beyond available production capacity of the state, states like Madhya Pradesh do not have any production capacity to meet their demand for medical oxygen. Besides, there is a trend of increasing demand in other oxygen producing states such as Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan, etc.
According to a release issued by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, 4880 MT, 5619 MT and 6593 MT oxygen have been identified for the 12 high burden states for meeting their projected demand as on April 20, April 25, and April 30, respectively.
"Sources of medical oxygen and their production capacity were mapped to match the requirement of states. States are Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan. While the demand in Maharashtra," the Ministry said.
It added that the government is also identifying another 100 hospitals in far-flung locations for the installation of Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) plants.
India reported its highest-ever single-day spike in COVID-19 with over 2 lakh cases on Thursday, according to the Union Health Ministry.
With 2,00,739 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, India recorded the highest single-day spike ever since the pandemic began last year.
The country's total number of cases now stands at 1,40,74,564, including 14,71,877 active cases.
India also reported 1,038 fresh COVID-related fatalities in the last 24 hours, taking the overall death toll to 1,73,123.
The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,24,29,564.
India currently is the second worst-hit country in the world in terms of COVID-19 cases, with the United States being the worst affected. (ANI)