On Monday, Union Health Minister Dr Harshvardhan had informed that India has received 1000 doses of Remdesivir, an antiviral drug manufactured by Pharma giant Gilead, to be tested on Coronavirus patients as a part of the solidarity trails of the World Health Organisation, reported News 18.
He said, “It’s an important subject that is being discussed at the highest level in the government. Scientists at ICMR and CSIR are also deliberating upon this issue.” Dr. Harsh Vardhan added that India is in a position to carry out trials in some states of India. The drug trials have delivered encouraging results on patients who need advanced care and have helped in quickening recovery.
It is important to mention that Remdesivir has been approved by the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for use in cases of critically ill Coronavirus patients. After conducting randomised trials on 1,063 patients, it was found to have a 31% faster recovery rate than the placebo.
Remdesivir is a drug manufactured in 2014 by a US based biotechnology firm Gilead Sciences as a cure for Ebola. Since then, it has been used to treat MERS and SERS, both of which are caused by the coronavirus strains. However, it did not have a great success back then. The firm is currently researching whether the same can work as a cure for COVID-19.
Initial trials have found that the mortality rate of those patients who were administered Remdesivir had a lower mortality rate of 8% as against 11.6%. The recovery time has also improved from 15 days to 11 days for some patients.
Gilead, the company which has manufactured the drug, has donated 1.5 million vials of the drug to the US government. It amounts to about 1 lakh to 2 lakh treatment courses. The company plans to produce a million treatment courses by the end of the year.
Coronavirus in India
As per Ministry of Health and Family Welfare official data, there are 42,836 total coronavirus positive cases in India as of 4 May, 2020. Of these, 11,762 have recovered while 1,389 have lost their lives to the virus.