ICMR chief says non-judicious use of therapies against Covid will lead to immune pressure on virus
"It is important from the scientific community perspective that we do not put too much immune pressure on the virus; we have to maintain the judicious use of therapies, which are going to benefit," Bhargava explained.
December 29, 2020 / 05:32 PM IST
Balram Bhargava, Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Tuesday warned against non-judicious use of therapies that have not been established for treating COVID-19, citing immune pressure on SARS-CoV-2 virus which can lead to mutations.
"These variations (mutations) occur because of immune pressure on the virus," said Bhargava briefing media.
Bhargava said the immune pressure on the virus may be due to the environment or condition of host, or related to the treatment.
"It is important from the scientific community perspective that we do not put too much immune pressure on the virus, we have to maintain the judicious use of therapies, which are going to benefit. If the benefit is not established we should not use those therapies, as they put tremendous immune pressure on the virus, and the virus will tend to mutate more," Bhargava explained.
Several experimental therapies such as antiviral drugs including Remdesivir and Favipiravir, biologic medications like Tocilizumab, Itolizumab, and convalscent plasma therapy, among other drugs have been tried on Covid-19 patients without large randomised clinical trials proving their efficacy.
Bhargava said the UK variant transmissibility is about 60 percent or so, and it is a matter of concern, though the government is testing variations on regular basis.
"Much of the frontrunner vaccines are targetting the Spike protein but the data we have indicate that they will continue to be effective (on the UK mutation as well)," Bhargava said.
Bhargava also said they will be carefully monitoring any possibility of immunity breakthroughs that may occur due to vaccination.