As the number of COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra is nearing one lakh, the state is set to begin the clinical trials for remdesivir, a drug that is being believed by researchers to be effective against COVID-19, NDTV reported.
The state government will procure 10,000 vials of the drug from Beximco, a pharmaceutical company based in Bangladesh, at $65 a vial. All the government-run medical colleges in the state will be provided with remdesivir and have been advised to use the drug only during emergency situations, the report added.
While BDR Pharmaceuticals, based in Mumbai, and Hetero Drugs in Hyderabad had already been roped in to provide around 3,000 vials of remdesivir, both the companies have agreed to supply the vials at free of cost, Mumbai Mirror quoted TP Lahane, the director of Medical Education and Research, as saying.
Earlier, a COVID-19 task force set up by the state government had recommended, in a report submitted to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, the usage of remdesivir that is being manufactured by American pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences. However, the Centre has not granted clearance for the manufacture and sale of the drug in India.
Meanwhile, State Minister of Housing Jitendra Awhad urged the Centre Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan to grant permission for the manufacture of remdesivir in India. Awhad said he had consistently been urging the DCGI and the Health Ministry to give permission for the drug. “People are dying and this is as of now the best drug (SIC),” he added in a tweet.