Mangaluru, May 23, 2020: The health and Family Welfare Dept., of Govt of Karnataka has issued a circular on May 15, 2020 regarding the protocol for management of COVID 19, on the basis of what is stated as the report of the expert committee of Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences. This protocol enlists unnecessary and unconfirmed tests and treatments for COVID 19, and therefore, it must be withdrawn immediately.
The protocol has classified COVID 19 cases into three categories and has provided for hospitalisation of all three categories of patients, from asymptomatic to the most severely ill.
The protocol suggests several investigations to be done right on the day of admission, including blood counts, liver and renal function tests, chest X Ray, ECG, CT scan of the chest, and other special investigations, all of which, if done, will cost Rs. 25000 per patient. In the coming days when lakhs of patients are likely to be infected with SARS CoV2, is it necessary and feasible to hospitalise and test all these patients at Rs 25000/person?
The treatment options suggested in the protocol are also surprising. The protocol recommends choloroquine, azithromycin, oseltamivir, zinc and vitamin C for all patients, from asymptomatic to the severely ill, and also anti coagulant injections for many patients. All these would cost at least Rs. 5000 per patient. For severe cases of COVID 19, many unproven and experimental treatments have been suggested, which are very expensive and highly questionable.
Therefore, this protocol, that’s not evidence based, likely to do more harm than good, unnecessarily expensive, and allowing private companies to conduct trials on COVID 19 patients, and likely to be misused by vested interests, must be immediately withdrawn, and instead, a protocol that is evidence based, simple and avoiding unnecessary expenses, must be developed.
Dr. B. Srinivas Kakkilaya, Mangaluru, India