LAHORE: Primary and Secondary Healthcare Secretary retired Capt Muhammad Usman on Monday claimed that Punjab has sufficient stock of anti-viral and other drugs to treat critical patients of Covid-19 at state-run hospitals.
We have 1,000 life-saving injections in stock for the treatment of critical patients of the virus, he told Dawn.
He said the stock position of the Punjab Directorate General of Health Services and the hospitals falling under the primary and secondary healthcare department was much better.
Similarly, he said, sufficient quantity of the above-mentioned medicines was available in the private market also.
Mr Usman said 949,260 hydroxychloroquine tablets and 677,014 injections were available in the market as well as the manufacturer`s stock. Similarly, 526,266 tablets of Azithromycin (500mg) and 1,027,057 of 250mg were also available besides other life-saving drugs.
Meanwhile, addressing a press conference the same day, the health secretary cautioned the public and patients that the use of these drugs without prescription of doctors could be extremely dangerous and risky for Covid-19 patients.
He was talking to the media along with convener of the Corona Experts Advisory Group (CEAG), Prof Dr Mahmood Shaukat.
Mr Usman said the CEAG was closely analysing the international research on Covid-19 treatment protocols and guidelines.
The anti-viral drug (injections) is an experimental medicine and it is used on very selective serious patients of the virus in state-run hospitals, the secretary explained, adding that the hoarding of these medicines at homes or business places would be a serious violation of laws.
To a question, he said that out of total 32 labs conducting Covid-19 tests, 19 were in the government sector. Initially, we had the capacity to conduct 300 to 350 tests daily, but in only two and a half months, we have moved towards 12,000 daily, he claimed. `To increase our testing capacity, we have worked really hard, we have established eight new laboratories, upgraded existing ones, collected extraction kits and diagnostic kits.
Pakistan Institute of Kidney and Liver Transplant (PKLI) intensive care unit head Dr Javed Hayat said that recently a wrong practice of using plasma therapy was introduced. The therapy was experimental, which was introduced during the cure of Ebola virus.
This method was first used in China when this pandemic was novel. It can harm the recipient as this is a product of the blood of another human being, he added.
The plasma therapy can also cause transmission of other diseases into a patient, Dr Hayat warned.
Meanwhile, Punjab reported a considerable decrease in Covid-19 deaths in the last 24 hours.
According to the official figures, 28 people died of the virus in the province during that period -nearly 50 per cent less than the previous days toll. Of these, 11 deaths were reported in Lahore, six each in Rawalpindi and Faisalabad and three in Multan.
Punjab has so far reported 3,435 deaths from coronavirus, including 556 in Lahore, 271 in Rawalpindi, 138 in Faisalabad and 108 in Multan.
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