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ICMR may use remdesivir if local companies can manufacture it

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said it will consider using remdesivir, an experimental drug made by Gilead Sciences, to treat Indian Covid-19 patients if domestic companies can manufacture it.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Apr 14, 2020, 07.04 AM IST
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One vial of the drug Remdesivir lies during a press conference about the start of a study with the Ebola drug Remdesivir in particularly severely ill patients at the University Hospital Eppendorf (UKE) in Hamburg, northern Germany on April 8, 2020, amidst the new coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
MUMBAI: The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said it will consider using remdesivir, an experimental drug made by Gilead Sciences, to treat Indian Covid-19 patients if domestic companies can manufacture it.

“Initial data based on an observational study shows that the drug is effective. We will wait for the results from the WHO solidarity trial and also see if some other companies can work on this to proceed further,” said Raman Gangakhedkar, head scientist at ICMR.

Remdesivir was used during the Ebola outbreak. A study sponsored by Gilead showed that clinical improvement was observed in 36 of 53 patients (68%) hospitalised for severe Covid-19. “Remdesivir is an investigational treatment and has not been approved for use anywhere in the world,” Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day wrote on April 10. “In the broader efforts to determine whether it is a safe and effective treatment, we have some way to go.”

O’Day said multiple clinical trials are underway across the world to build a complete picture of how the drug works in various contexts.

ICMR May Use Remdesivir if Local Cos Can Manufacture It

Gilead is running phase-3 trials in areas with a high prevalence of Covid-19, across the US, Asia and Europe. One trial, according to the company, is for patients with severe infection and the other is for patients with more moderate symptoms. The studies will also examine whether the treatment duration of Covid-19 can be shortened to five days from 10. Gilead said if the drug succeeds the phase-3 trials, it will offer 1 million doses of the drug for compassionate use. However, civil society groups are worried about pricing.
The price of remdesivir is unknown, Doctors Without Borders, also known as MSF, said in a statement. However, as the drug entered clinical trials in China for Covid-19 in February, it was estimated that Gilead may charge $260 per treatment course in the country. Prices may be as high as $1,000 per treatment course in the US.

The manufacturing cost of remdesivir is unknown. Estimates of the cost are expected soon and are expected to be much lower than the prices specified, MSF said.
(Catch all the Business News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on The Economic Times.)

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