New Delhi: Hyderabad-based drugmaker Hetero, which has the approval to manufacture and market the generic version of the experimental COVID-19 drug Remdesivir, has sent the first batch to 5 states for the treatment of the infection.

Delhi and Maharashtra -the two worst-hit states in the country by the coronavirus pandemic will be the first to receive the first batch of the antiviral medicine. On Thursday morning,Delhi woke up to surpass Mumbaias the worst-affected city in the country, with positive cases crossing the 70,000-mark. The Hyderabad-based drugmaker has dispatched 20,000 vials of the drug named Covifor to five states.

Besides Maharashtra and the national capital, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu are the other two states that will receive the first batch of the drug. Telangana, which has seen a sudden surge in coronavirus cases in the last week, is the fifth state that will receive the first batch of the medicine.

Cost Of the Drug

The version of Remdesivir, sold under the brand name Covifor, has been priced at Rs 5,400 per 100-milligram vial and will be available at hospitals to treat the coronavirus infection. The recommended dose for adults and pediatric patients is 200 mg on Day 1 followed by once-daily maintenance doses of 100 mg for five days. It needs to be administered intravenously in a hospital in a critical care set-up, under the supervision of a registered doctor. Covifor is likely to play a vital role in bringing down mortality rates caused by coronavirus, according to the company.

The other States to receive ‘Covifor’

According to Hetero spokesperson, another batch will be supplied to Kolkata, Indore, Bhopal, Lucknow, Patna, Bhubaneshwar, Ranchi, Vijayawada, Cochin, Trivandrum, and Goa within a week’s time, in order to meet emergency requirements.

Covifor will not be available in retail stores

Currently, the drug is being manufactured at the company’s formulation facility in Hyderabad. The active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) is being made in the firm’s Visakhapatnam facility, news agency PTI reported.

The drug will be available only through hospitals and government, and not via retail, according to the Hetero group.

Drug will not be given to those with liver disease, kidney failure, pregnant or lactating women, and children below 12 years, as per reports.

Drugmaker Cipla has also signed a licensing agreement with US-based Gilead Sciences Inc – the original manufacturer of Remdesivir – to make and sell the drug. Cipla has said its antiviral drug Remdesivir would be priced below Rs 5,000.

Regulator Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has approved the generic versions made by Cipla and Hetero for ‘restricted emergency use’ in severe COVID-19 cases.

“Covifor is the first generic brand of Remdesivir which is indicated for the treatment of Covid-19 patients. Through Covifor, we hope to reduce the treatment time of a patient in a hospital, thereby reducing the increasing pressure on the medical infrastructure, overburdened currently due to accelerating infection rates,” M Srinivasa Reddy, Managing Director, Hetero Healthcare Limited told news agency ANI.

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