By Sampada A. Khatiwada
Kathmandu, Aug. 22: The Department of Drug Administration (DDA) under the Ministry of Health and Population has signed a consignment deal with Indian company Mylan to import Remdesivir, an antiviral injection used to treat COVID-19 patients with serious symptoms.
Santosh KC, information officer and senior drug administrator at the DDA, said that some 538 vials of the medicine would be available to the patients and hospitals by today (Friday). “As per the consignment agreement, KC said, the medicine will be available for patients at a cost of Rs. 7,600.” He added that the cost will be even less for hospitals.
While the governments across the world have been striving to invent vaccine against the COVID-19, the Remdesivir anti-viral injection, originally formulated for the Treatment of Ebola in 2009, has been helpful in curing the coronavirus infection. Although used as a medication against Ebola, it was later found out that Remdesivir had a broad-spectrum anti-viral medicine.
Currently, the Remdesivir medicine has come in handy in many countries in curing the COVID-19 infected patients, especially those who are in serious condition. Researches, however, on Remdesivir being the ‘ultimate cure’ to SARS-CoV-2 infection are still going on.
There has been a lot of issue regarding the cost of the Remdesivir. The medicine will be available for use at the same price that the country of origin, i.e., India, said KC.
He added that the medicine will be provided to both the private and government level-2 and level-3 COVID-19 special hospitals in line with the protocols issued by the Nepal Medical Council.
KC said that the antiviral injection would be given to the patients only if they want. “The medicine is considered to be effective for speedy recovery from the SARS-Cov-2 infection. It is used only on those virus infected patients who are admitted to the ICU and who have reduced oxygen saturation in the body due to the infection,” he added.
Stating that various researches have been going on across the world regarding the use of Remdesivir as the vaccine against the novel coronavirus, KC said that the medicine could be produced in Nepal as well if it was proved to be the ultimate vaccine against the COVID-19.
Dr. Rabindra Pandey, a public health specialist, said, “The Remdesivir injection had not shown much effect in China. But the medicine has now become effective in curing the COVID-19 patients to some extent in the USA, Europe, Middle-East and South Asia.”
“The medicine stops replication of SARS-CoV-2 in the body and thereby prevents the patients from going into serious medical condition. This antiviral injection is usually given to the COVID-19 patients who are in serious condition,” added Dr. Pandey. In a research, virus patients medicated with Remdesivir recovered from the infection in 11 days while the patients who were not medicated recovered in 15 days, he added.
“The oxygen saturation decreases in the human body infected with the coronavirus. Remdesivir had worked effectively for those patients who were in need of oxygen. The medicine has been put into trial in various laboratories worldwide. The result, however, is yet to be received,” Dr. Pandey said.
“Although the Remdesivir is effective for treatment of ICU patients, the government should allow commercial distribution of the anti-viral injection only after the successful trial of the medicine as a vaccine against the COVID-19 in order to prevent its black-marketing and regulate the price,” Dr. Pandey said.
– The Rising Nepal