At a time when the second wave of coronavirus has jolted India, Kamrej BJP MLA VD Jhalawadia was spotted filling a syringe from Remdesivir vial at Sarthana Community Covid Center, run in collaboration with the Surat Municipal Corporation. The legislator, who is a class five dropout, was at the Centre in Surat’s satellite town for a meeting with the medical staff.
“I am doing voluntary work in Sarthana Community Hall for the last 40 days, and helping patients with Covid care. I have no intention of being a part of any controversy. I only filled the syringe with Remdesivir dose, and did not inject anyone. There were almost 10-15 doctors present with me. I have helped cure nearly 200 people and send them home in a healthy state," Jhalawadia said.
Taking a jibe at Jhalawadia, Congress spokesperson Jairaj Singh said that medical staff should learn from the legislator. He even recommended establishing MLA’s statue at hospitals.
Gujarat had recently been facing shortage, black-marketing and counterfeiting of antiviral injection Remdesivir, which is used to treat Covid-19 patients. However, AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria, who was in Gujarat as part of a central team to take stock of the Covid-19 situation in July 2020, had said that “oxygen therapy, steroids in mild to moderate patients, anticoagulants and prone positioning would save more lives than Tocilizumab or Remdesivir".
According to a report in Indian Express, the Gujarat government in September 2020 increased the procurement of the drug when a shortage was reported. By mid-April when the demand exceeded the available supply and stock, the state government blamed the public for “panic buying and hoarding" and also blamed doctors for “indiscriminate" prescription of the drug.
A study from the World Health Organization (WHO) had, however, found Remdesivir has little to no effect on Covid-19 patients’ chances of survival.