Vijayawada: Given the steady rise in coronavirus infections and the resultant deaths, the demand for the life-saving drug, remdesivir, has sharply increased in Andhra Pradesh in recent days.
As per information released by the state health authorities on Monday, there existed 23,115 coronavirus active cases. Eleven out of the 13 districts are having more than 1,000 active cases. Two districts — Vizianagaram and West Godavari — were having 647 and 258 active cases respectively.
The number of daily Covid positive cases in AP has crossed the 3,000 mark and the daily number of deaths is in the range of 10 now. On Monday, 1,091 virus-infected patients were discharged from hospitals after recovery.
The demand for the life-saving drug is going up all over the state. Pharmaceutical giants Hetero and Cipla are major suppliers of remdesivir in their brand names like Covifor and Cipremi respectively. For an infected patient, a pack of six vials are being given as a course at the rate of two shots a day with a gap of several hours while one shot each for the remaining days. Each vial of Covifor costs Rs 5,400 and Cipremi Rs 4,000.
Pharma giants are making efforts to ramp up the production of remdesivir vials as the demand is increasing. The drugs control administration is sending a communication to these firms to boost their production so as to avert short supply.
Pharma industry sources say that Hetero is the major supplier remdesivir to AP and it has plans to extend the shelf-life of the vial to 12 months from the earlier period of six months. Notably, since the number of coronavirus infections had come down drastically before the start of the second wave, several unused Remdesivir vials were either returned to the firm or discarded after expiry of the six months period. In view of this, the firm is coming up with a new policy to handle both the issues.
A doctor attached to a government hospital in Vijayawada, Dr B. Nirmal Kumar, said, “We are administering six Remdesivir vials as a course to Covid-19 patients with comorbidities and also in cases where the oxygen saturation levels fall below 94 per cent. The drug is helping them recover. However, the infected patients having other chronic diseases are not able to survive.”
An official from the drugs control administration said, “The demand and supply for remdesivir drug is 3:1 in the sate at present. We are expecting fresh stocks very soon. Moreover, new players are also stepping in to manufacture and supply the drug to help us overcome the shortage.”