Here's how Jaipur's SMS hospital used meds to 'unexpectedly' cure 14 COVID-19 patients

Rajasthan's Chief Secretary of State D B Gupta tells us about the state's success in treating COVID-19
SMS Hospital
SMS Hospital

While the entire world is battling COVID-19 and stopping it from spreading further and affecting more people, a beam of hope comes from Rajasthan. On March 16, Sawai Mansingh Hospital in Jaipur had reportedly cured three COVID-19 positive patients admitted there. Two weeks later, the state's Chief Secretary D B Gupta tells us that the hospital has until now cured 14 patients.

The same hospital was recently in the news for employing robots to deliver food and medicines to patients. Recently, we caught up with Gupta, who spoke to us about how the hospital is trying to fight the virus and plan to expand it to other countries. Excepts from the conversation:

How exactly did you treat these patients? How much time did it take?
We tried the medicines that treat high fever and other infections. We have now forwarded the results of these tests to the ICMR, hoping to get a nod. We gave the COVID-19 patients a combination of drugs that are used to treat HIV AIDS (Lopinavir 200 mg/Ritonavir 50 mg twice a day), Malaria (Chloroquine) and Swine Flu (Oseltamivir).

Who headed the research? Was this an expected success?
Dr Sudhir Bhandari, Principal, SMS Hospital, headed the research. This was a trial and the results were unexpected.

Are talks underway to help the other Indian states?
Once we get a nod from the authorities concerned, the treatment will not only be forwarded to other Indian states, but to other countries suffering due to the pandemic as well.

Are you also working on a vaccine?
Generally, vaccines take time in trials. So, rather than taking more time working on it, we are more focused on treating it with medication. The vaccines will be in place, but getting the virus under control is the current priority.

What are a few challenges that you are facing with respect to treating COVID-19 patients?
The main challenge we face while treating the patients is to keep our doctors away from contamination. Some patients are under the impression that if they are put under isolation, they won't be able to go back to having a normal life. That is obviously not the case. They have to be kept inside so that they don't work as carriers of this virus. There is nothing to be scared about.

Is social distancing the only way to stop the spread?
It is not the only way, but it is the most helpful way and should be taken as a priority by every individual. If the movement of the public will stop, we may be able to hold the increased rate and stop the community spread. So, social distancing is important because you never know if you are shaking hands with someone infected.

Can India stop this before we reach stage 4?
Absolutely, India can still hold before entering the tough spot. See, it's a chain, the stage you are talking about. We need to break that chain. Once you break the chain, you just have to treat the ones affected, but if you keep receiving reports of people roaming around in large numbers, that way everyone will put each other's lives in danger. It's a social responsibility now. Carelessness and easy-going behaviour can be very dangerous at this point in time.

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