Interview and article by Christine Clark.
Dr Suryakant (Head of the Department of Respiratory Medicine at King George Medical University in Lucknow, India) explains how an ivermectin-based therapy kit was provided to patients with mild or asymptomatic covid-19 who were in home isolation.
In August 2020, following the issue of a Government Order (GO), ivermectin-based treatment was introduced for people with mild or asymptomatic covid-19 who were kept in home isolation. A mild case was defined as someone with a pulse oximeter (oxygen saturation) reading of more than 94%. Readings of 90-94% were considered moderate and a reading below 90% was an indication for hospitalisation. The treatment pack contained ivermectin, doxycycline, vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin B, zinc and paracetamol together with a thermometer and pulse oximeter.
Local Covid Control Centres made twice-daily phone calls to household contacts to check on progress. They asked for oxygen saturation levels and temperature readings and checked that ivermectin and doxycycline had been taken. If the oxygen saturation level is below 94% a doctor or nurse will visit to assess the patient. If there is rapid deterioration or if the patient has relevant comorbidities, then hospital admission is required. Thus, elderly (over 60 years in India) patients and those with diabetes, hypertension, heart, liver or kidney disease or lung disease are admitted to hospital whereas younger patients can afford to wait, explains Dr Suryakant. More than 90% of patients were successfully treated at home in this way and the remaining 10% hospitalised, he adds.
Treatment kits were available at Primary Health Centres – the lowest level of the health network. Identification of patients or suspected patients was the task of the basic health worker – the Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM). People with symptoms (dry cough, fever, shortness of breath) were identified and testing was undertaken at the Primary Health Centres. People who tested positive were issued with ivermectin-based treatment kits and required to undertake home isolation. Patients who were seriously ill at the time of diagnosis were immediately hospitalised.
Ivermectin success story
Describing the results in Uttar Pradesh, Dr Suryakant says that the overall mortality in 2020 in India was 2.4% but in Uttar Pradesh it was only 2.0%. Looking at this in a different way, Uttar Pradesh represents 17% of India’s population – “almost every fifth Indian is from Uttar Pradesh – but we have only 6% of the disease burden …. that is the beauty, that is the success story of ivermectin!”, he says.
Dr Suryakant is brand ambassador for covid vaccination in India. He is a respiratory physician and past president of several chest associations in India. He has also held a leadership position in the Indian Medical Association, a body with 400,000 members.
Find Dr Suryakant’s YouTube channel here.