Antibiotics Off the Table: Maharashtra’s COVID Task Force Outlines Treatment Approach After Surge In JN.1 Cases

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Pune, 15th January 2024: With an increasing number of patients infected with the corona subtype JN.1 in the state, the Maharashtra government has established the COVID Action Task Force to address the evolving situation. The Task Force recommends administering remdesivir to co-infected patients with co-morbidities, and it strongly advises against the use of antibiotics for all COVID-19 patients in general.

The Task Force has issued comprehensive instructions regarding the treatment protocol for Corona patients. It notes that JN.1 patients may present flu-like symptoms such as cold, fever, and cough, along with potential difficulty in breathing. For Corona patients without co-morbidities, antiviral drugs are deemed unnecessary, and treatment should be focused on managing symptoms. In contrast, those with co-morbidities are recommended to receive a 3-day course of Remdesivir or 5 days of Nirmatrelvir or Ritonavir tablets. If these drugs are unavailable, Molnupiravir tablets can be administered after counseling the patient.

For Corona patients experiencing respiratory problems, a 5-day course of Remdesivir is advised, while antibiotics should be avoided for all Corona patients. Antibiotics should only be prescribed for patients with other infections or comorbidities as necessary. TheTask Force emphasizes that a CT scan of the lungs is not mandatory for all Corona patients but should be conducted solely in cases where respiratory disorders are evident.

The Task Force advocates against the indiscriminate use of steroids, advising against their use in the outpatient department for Corona patients with flu-like symptoms. Steroids, specifically Dexamethasone, should be reserved for hospitalized patients requiring artificial oxygen, especially if oxygen levels fall below 94 percent in those with respiratory disorders.

Key instructions from the tast force include the avoidance of blood tests for Corona patients, refraining from providing steroids to all patients, steering clear of antibiotics for Corona patients, and discontinuing the use of RTPCR tests while discharging patients from hospitals. Additionally, the bodies of patients who succumb to Corona should be handed directly to their relatives, streamlining the process during these challenging times.

Till yesterday, there were 250 patients infected with JN.1 in Maharashtra including:

Pune – 150
Nagpur – 30
Mumbai – 22
Solapur – 5
Sangli – 6
Thane – 7
Jalgaon – 4
Ahmednagar – 3
Beed – 3
Chh. Sambhajinagar – 2