The world is eagerly awaiting a COVID-19 cure, whether it's a vaccine or drug. So there are some current efforts around the world for this and several interesting advances have been made. Remdesivir of Gilead Sciences, Inc. which was an experimental drug for COVID-19 treatment has proven potential activity against COVID-19 on basis of the preclinical and clinical trials. It has shown effect in animal models against the viral pathogens MERS and SARS, which are also coronaviruses and are structurally similar to COVID-19. The drug is a nucleotide analog with broad spectrum antiviral activity and is approved by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Also, Drug controller General of India (DCGI) approved the drug for emergency use for the treatment of hospitalized 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients. The DCGI has given instructions to pharmaceutical companies to take the written, informed consent form of each patient and carry out active surveillance of all treated patients with the drug so as to report any serious adverse events.
Hetero Group has launched the generic Remdesivir under brand name COVIFOR. The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) approved the manufacturing and marketing of COVIFOR, to HETERO DRUGS Pvt.Ltd. The approval was given to use COVIFOR only for “Restricted emergency Use” on those COVID-19 patients who are on oxygen support. COVIFOR is Remdesivir's first generic brand that is indicated for treating COVID-19 patients in adults and children, hospitalized with severe disease symptoms. The drug comes in 100 mg vial (Injectable). In a hospital, critical care setting, it must be administered intravenously under the supervision of a registered medical practitioner. The drug has shown to bring down the viral load in patients and help in faster recovery. Clinical trials to evaluate the efficacy of the drug on severe patients are still being conducted.
As per the dosing recommendation, patients are to be given two doses of 100 mg injection of COVIFOR (Remdesivir) on first day followed by a single dose of 100 mg daily for five days. Thus a total of 6 injections will be given.
In India COVIFOR will be marketed by HETERO HEALTHCARE. The 100 mg injectable vials are priced at Rs 5400 and the entire course of COVIFOR will cost patient Rs 30000-35000 approximately. Now, Hetero Healthcare will supply the first set of 20,000 vials in two equivalent lots of 10,000 each, one of which shall be immediately shipped to Hyderabad, Delhi, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra; the other shall be delivered to Kolkata, Indore, Bhopal, Lucknow, Patna, Bhubaneshwar, Ranchi, Vijayawada, Cochin, Trivandrum and Goa within a week’s time, in order to meet the emergency requirements.
“The launch of COVIFOR in India is a significant milestone for all of us. Hetero Healthcare has always been at the forefront in addressing the public health emergencies. Through COVIFOR, we hope to reduce the treatment time of a patient in hospital, thereby reducing the increasing pressure on the medical infrastructure, overburdened currently due to accelerating COVID-19 infection rates. We are working closely with the Government and Medical community to make “COVIFOR” quickly accessible to both public and private healthcare settings across the country.”
M. Srinivas Reddy,
Hetero Healthcare Limited