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Covid-19: Maharashtra to buy remdesivir from Bangladesh for trials

  • Published at 01:46 pm June 13th, 2020
File photo: An ampule of remdesivir is pictured during a news conference at the University Hospital Eppendorf in Hamburg, Germany, April 8, 2020 Reuters

Covid-19: Indian state Maharashtra to buy remdesivir from Bangladesh for trialsThe state government is initially getting 3,000 vials and plans have been finalized to acquire 10,000 more vials

The government of Maharashtra, a state of India, is purchasing the drug, remdesivir, from Bangladesh in the ongoing battle against Covid-19 pandemic.

The state government is acquiring the drug, which has been touted as a success in treating Covid-19 patients, from a Bangladeshi pharmaceutical company since the Indian companies are not manufacturing it, reports NDTV.

The name of the Bangladeshi firm was not mentioned in the report.

Maharashtra will begin trials for remdesivir and it will be provided to 18 medical colleges.

The state government is initially getting 3,000 vials and plans have been finalized to acquire 10,000 more vials, while it pushes the centre for clearances for the drug.

Sources said the state's Covid-19 task force that comprises doctors who look into clinical management and reports to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray suggested the use of remdesivir to save lives.

The sources said the task force asked the chief minister to find a way out of the bureaucratic hurdles to make the drug more accessible.

Indian firms that have acquired patent licence from US pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences are still not manufacturing and marketing the drug in the country as they do not have clearances yet, according to the report.

Maharashtra Minister Jitendra Awhad has asked the centre for clearances for the drug. 

"From the beginning I consistently urged to DCGI and Central Health Ministry to give permission for Remedesivir Drug Y r u still holding on to permissions People are dying and this is as of now the best drug Plz save lives @drharshvardhan ji @drvgsomani ji," Awhad tweeted, tagging the union health minister and the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI).

The death rate of Maharashtra rose marginally to 3.7% on June 11 after Mumbai reported 97 deaths for two days in a row, leading to concerns over the death rate which the state government has so far managed to control, the report said.

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said last week the state would procure 10,000 vials of remdesivir. 

Based on evidence from laboratory, animal and clinical studies, he said the drug has shown promising results in Mers-CoV and Sars, which are also caused by coronavirus.

Tope tweeted: "According to World Health Organisation this medicine can give us success against Covid19. The expensive medicine is being made available for poor and needy patients." 

The decision of the state government comes after a revision in the treatment protocol of Covid-19 patients by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). 

According to NDTV, remdesivir was already being administered in Mumbai on emergency and compassionate grounds, but that has limited its use to those who can afford it and left it out of the reach of many people due to the restrictive procurement process.

The drug is believed to be effective in patients who need oxygen. Singapore's Health Sciences Authority has given conditional approval.