Coronavirus: 5 states to receive first batch of Hetero's COVIFOR
Five states across India will be the first to receive Hetero Healthcare's COVID-19 drug, COVIFOR, the first generic brand of the experimental drug remdesivir. The Hyderabad-based drugmaker has sent the first consignment of 20,000 vials to five states, NDTV reported. Among the states to receive the first consignment are Maharashtra and Delhi, two of the worst-affected regions in India. Here are more details.
According to NDTV, Hetero has sent the first batch of COVIFOR to Maharashtra, Delhi, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, along with Telangana's capital Hyderabad. These are notably regions where the COVID-19 outbreak has had one of the worst impacts. Reportedly, the next batch of the drug will be sent to Kolkata, Indore, Bhopal, Lucknow, Patna, Bhubaneswar, Ranchi, Vijayawada, Kochi, Trivandrum, and Goa.
COVIFOR is the generic version of antiviral drug remdesivir. The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) had given approval to both Hetero and Cipla to manufacture and sell COVIFOR for restricted emergency use in severe COVID-19 cases. The drug has received emergency use approval for severely ill patients in South Korea and the United States, and full approval in Japan.
Currently, the drug is being manufactured at Hetero's formulation facility in Hyderabad, while the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) is being made at the firm's Visakhapatnam facility. The company is aiming to produce one lakh COVIFOR vials in three-four weeks.
Hetero would sell COVIFOR in the form of 100 mg vials that will be administered intravenously. The recommended dose for adults and pediatric patients is 200 mg on day one, followed by daily maintenance doses of 100 mg for the next five days. Each vial will cost Rs. 5,400. Cipla has said that its version of remdesivir would be priced below Rs 5,000.
Hetero Group of Companies MD Vamsi Krishna Bandi told NDTV, "The drug will not be given to those with liver disease, kidney failure, pregnant or lactating women, and children below 12 years." Bandi has said COVIFOR will only be sold through hospitals and the government.
According to the Union Health Ministry, as of 8 am on Thursday, India has reported a total of 4,73,105 cases. The total includes 14,894 deaths and 1,86,514 active cases along with 2,71,696 patients who have been cured or discharged and one patient who migrated out of India. India reported nearly 17,000 cases in the past 24 hours, marking the biggest single-day spike.