State Govt Should withdraw unnecessary Tests for COVID 19 – Dr Srinivas Kakkilaya
Mangaluru: The health and Family Welfare Department, Govt of Karnataka has issued a circular on May 15, 2020, regarding the protocol for the management of COVID-19, based on 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 This protocol enlists unnecessary and unconfirmed tests and treatments for COVID-19, and therefore, it must be withdrawn immediately”, stated Dr B Srinivas Kakkilaya in a press release on May 23.
The press release stated, “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 press release further stated, “The protocol suggests several investigations 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 press release also stated, “The treatment options suggested in the protocol are also surprising. The protocol recommends chloroquine, azithromycin, oseltamivir, zinc and vitamin C for all patients, from asymptomatic to the severely ill, and also anticoagulant 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, which is not evidence-based, is likely to do more harm than good, unnecessarily expensive, and allowing private companies to conduct trials on COVID-19 patients, and expected to be misused by vested interests, must be immediately withdrawn. Instead, a protocol that is evidence-based, simple and avoiding unnecessary expenses, must be developed.