New Delhi [India], April 21 (ANI): Amid reports of shortage of medical oxygen in surge in COVID-19 cases in the country in the second wave of pandemic, AIIMS Delhi Director Dr Randeep Guleria said on Wednesday that "if we work together and use oxygen and Remdesivir judiciously then there will be no shortage anywhere".
He urged people not to take oxygen if it is not required by them and noted that taking oxygen intermittently "is an absolute waste" of the gas.
"As a country, if we work together, use oxygen and Remdesivir judiciously, then, there will be no shortage anywhere whether we talk of Maharashtra, Delhi, Chhattisgarh or any state. In terms of the number of people who need oxygen and oxygen supply, we are well balanced," he said.
"But if you suddenly start hoarding oxygen, even if you don't need it. Then obviously you will have a deficiency which is self-created, rather than actually existing. My appeal to people is don't take oxygen if it is not required," he added.
Addressing issues related to COVID-19 along with Dr Devi Shetty, Chairman, Narayana Health and Dr Naresh Trehan, Chairman, Medanta through video conferencing, Dr Guleria said that there is no data that suggests that Remdesivir taken in mild disease will save lives or will have any benefit and appealed to citizens not to consider it a "magic bullet".
"It is important to understand that most of us who are either in home isolation or even in hospitals because of panic don't need any specific treatment. Like you treat simple cold, you can get away with treating cold with the majority of people taking just paracetamol and keeping yourself well hydrated," he said.
"It's only a small percentage which will require drugs like Remidesivir and there is no data which suggests that Remidesivir taken in mild disease will save lives or will have any benefit. The data for Remdesivir does not show, it deceases mortality, it only has been shown to decrease hospital state."
He said oxygen is very important for those who need it.
"There is a lot of issue as far as oxygen is concerned, I do agree and this is very important for those who need oxygen. Oxygen is a treatment, it's like a drug. Therefore, it is very important to understand that one of the treatment for COVID-19 is to give oxygen if you need it," he said.
"Taking oxygen intermittently is an absolute waste of oxygen. There is no data that shows that this will be of any help to you and therefore you shouldn't do. Many patients have started keeping oxygen cylinders at home and started taking it half an hour or two hours that itself is more harmful and is again denying oxygen who actually need it," he added.
He also explained the concept of oxygen saturation.
"If your oxygen saturation is 92 or 93, or 98-99, the actually oxygen in the blood is not very different. There is oxygen dissociation curve called sigmoid curve and after you reach saturation of 90, it is actually flat, even if you go from 92 to 98. Those individuals who are having an oxygen saturation of 92 or 94, there is no need to take high oxygen just to maintain your saturation. It is not going to be of any benefit. If your saturation is above 95, you don't need to take oxygen. If it is less than 94, you need close monitoring but you still may not need oxygen because oxygen is still sufficient in blood if patient is healthy," he said.
"In some patients, who have a chronic disease, you may want to keep the oxygen saturation at the higher point. If these patients have oxygen saturation around 92-94, don't panic, consult a doctor, you need to monitor oxygen saturation but it is not that you should start taking oxygen to maintain your saturation above 97 or 98. It is not going to be of much benefit," he added.
Dr Guleria appealed to citizens not to rush to hospitals if they have tested positive for COVID-19 as they can isolate themselves at home.
"The majority of people don't need to panic, they can home isolate themselves, monitor at home, keep yourself well hydrated, monitor saturation and consult your doctor if you have any worry," he said.
"By rushing to the hospital, you are creating more chaos and you are not actually benefitting yourself and you are denying a bed to a fellow citizen who may need it and may not be able to get it because of unnecessary hospitalization of people who don't need to be in hospital," he added.
India reported 2,95,041 new COVID-19 cases and 2,023 deaths on Wednesday, a record-high since the pandemic broke out last year. (ANI)