Covid-19: India to soon begin domestic production of Remdesivir drug

13 June, 2020 | Priyanka Sharma

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The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has approved the use of Remdesivir for restricted emergency use on severely ill hospitalised coronavirus patients.

India is soon going to have its domestic production of anti-viral Remdesivir drug, which would have safety, efficacy and stability for “restricted emergency use” on COVID-19 patients. Recently, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has given the approval to Remdesivir for “restricted emergency use” on severely ill hospitalised coronavirus patients.

For this, the country’s top drug regulator is evaluating the application submitted by four domestic pharma giants who want to seek the approval to manufacture and sell Remdesivir in India.

“Their applications are being thoroughly studied and examined day and night. It had certain shortcomings for which the respective pharma companies are furnishing their report. The testing of the drug’s molecular compound will be done at our government laboratory. When it fulfills the safety parameters at the dose, India would soon have the benefit of its domestic product (Remdesivir) which have efficacy, stability and safety for ‘restricted emergency use’ on COVID-19 patients,” a senior government official told ANI.

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“Remdesivir is a drug that is still under trial. Hence, looking at the COVID-19 situation in the country, it has been permitted for ‘restricted emergency use’ on COVID-19 patients. Doctors have to get the consent-form duly filled by the patient in a prescribed manner before using it,” he stated, adding that it is the first drug in India which has such strong control.

“The drug will be administered in the form of infection in five doses. On the first day, a patient will be given two doses followed by one dose for the next four days under the strict monitoring of doctors. The drug has to be given only to those severe COVID-19 patients with oxygen saturation level below 94 and respiratory rate more than 24,” the senior government official further said.

He informed that in other countries, patients are being administrated with 10 doses of Remdesivir.

Besides this, companies have to follow up each and every patient’s case with regard to the safety and efficacy of the drug to whom it is being administered. “Pharma companies have been directed to conduct Active-Post Marketing Surveillance of each case and prepare a report on the benefit or recovery of a patient and provide the data report to us,” the official said, adding that these pharma companies have to submit a report to the government and also of a clinical trial being conducted anywhere in the world.

Remdesivir, an investigational antiviral therapy developed by Gilead, received Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) by the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) to treat COVID-19. However, multiple additional clinical trials are ongoing to generate more data on the safety and efficacy of the drug as a treatment for the virus. In the recent past, Gilead had signed non-exclusive voluntary licensing agreements with four generic pharma firms — Cipla, Jubilant Life Sciences, Hetero and Mylan to manufacture and distribute Remdesivir, a potential antiviral therapy for COVID-19.

According to Gilead, under the licensing agreements, the companies have a right to receive a technology transfer of the Gilead manufacturing process for Remdesivir to enable them to scale up production more quickly.

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