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The Ministry of National Health Services on Sunday assented to the use of alternatives to a life-saving drug to treat Covid-19 patients in critical condition, which is in short supply.

The government response comes as health facilities across the country report shortage of Actemra vials, a life-saving injectable drug.

In a statement, the health ministry stated that various world health bodies have recommended alternative drugs to Actemra in view of the global shortage of medicine.

The ministry expressed confidence about the alternatives citing the doctors across the world who have been adopting alternative medicines to the said drug.

Read WHO's pandemic project faces cash crunch amid vaccine, oxygen shortages

Actemra, which was given to serious patients of Covid-19 with affected lungs, is expected to be replaced by drugs such as Baricitinib and Tofacitinib, the ministry further said.

“[These] could be used as alternatives to Actemra which is an immunosuppressive drug used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis, a severe form of arthritis in children.”

It may be mentioned here that Roche, the sponsor of tocilizumab (Actemra), also recently announced a shortage of medicine due to global demand in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Sunday, Pakistan reported 3,747 new coronavirus infections as the country continues to battle against the fourth wave of the pandemic.

The latest statistics of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) say that the deadly disease claimed 61 more lives during the past 24 hours, taking the nationwide death toll from the virus to 26,175. 

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