“We found that in the maximum number of patients, the lung function continues to get better,” said the study’s main author, pulmonologist Dr Sumeet Singhania from Kokilaben Ambani Hospital, Andheri.
The initial findings of the long-running study were recently published in Lung India Journal. The team began the study mainly because of the mass neurosis among patients about Covid destroying their lungs. “But we found the majority of these patients, by the end of three months, showed very good improvement in the lungs, both structurally and functionally,” said Dr Singhania. Each patient’s lung function test and CT scan were performed.
While the Lung India study only has results from 42 patients who were treated with antiviral remdesivir and steroids, the medical team has since completed the study on over 300 hundreds of patients, some of whom were followed for a year now.
Most of these 42 patients admitted to the hospital for Covid had severe pneumonia. The study also focused on a debate within the medical community on whether to start Covid patients with severe lung involvement on anti-fibrotic medicines. Anti-fibrotic agents are meant for patients with idiopathic lung fibrosis in order to slow down the scarring of lungs.
Dr Lancelot Pinto, who is attached to Hinduja Hospital in Mahim and not connected to this study, told TOI that discharge papers of many Covid-19 patients would show they were put on anti-fibrotic medication. “The medication is unnecessary and I haven’t prescribed it to a single Covid-19 patient in the last 16 months,” he said.
The Kokilaben Hospital study underlines the same thought process. “Our study shows that not each and everyone admitted to hospital for Covid infection needs to be started on anti-fibrotic drugs,” said Dr Singhania.
Anti-fibrotic medication, by their own definition, are meant to arrest lung scarring or damage. “They cannot reverse the scarring. So where is the proof that it helps Covid patients with lung scarring,” asked Dr Pinto.