Egypt starts producing Ebola drug Remdesivir to treat coronavirus patients

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Fri, 26 Jun 2020 - 09:23 GMT

FILE PHOTO: An ampule of Ebola drug Remdesivir is pictured during a news conference at the University Hospital Eppendorf (UKE) in Hamburg, Germany, April 8, 2020, as the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues. Ulrich Perrey/Pool via REUTERS

FILE PHOTO: An ampule of Ebola drug Remdesivir is pictured during a news conference at the University Hospital Eppendorf (UKE) in Hamburg, Germany, April 8, 2020, as the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues. Ulrich Perrey/Pool via REUTERS

CAIRO – 25 June 2020: Egypt’s 23-year old drug manufacturer Eva Pharma announced starting producing antiviral Remdesivir as the first expected therapy for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Reuters reported.

Producing the Ebola drug, Remdesivir, Eva Pharma becomes the first licensed manufacturer of this treatment in the African continent. The company said earlier in June it received a license from the US-based Gilead Sciences, which made Remdesivir, to start production and distribution to 127 countries.

Eva Pharma will produce 500,000 doses of the drug per month to be sold locally, general manager Amgad Talaat said, adding that it will cost less than LE 2,000 ($124.07) each. The drug was sent to quarantine hospitals, Talaat added.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) on Thursday said it received a recommendation from its human medicines committee urging conditional approval of Remdesivir to treat adults and adolescents, who are also suffering from pneumonia.

Eva Pharma also started producing 1 million tablets of Japan’s Favipiravir drug sold under the brand name Avigan, and is set to make them available within July, Talaat added.

After trial on 50 Egyptian COVID-19 patients since April, Egypt is set to receive more doses of Avigan that accelerates recovery and exerts efforts to get a share of the vaccine developed by Oxford University.

The Egyptian Embassy in Tokyo signed earlier a diplomatic memorandum providing that Japan grants Egypt free-of-charge doses of the antiviral medication, Avigan.

Ambassador Ayman Kamel stated that the supply of the experimental drug will be accomplished through the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).

The Egyptian Drug Authority announced signing a deal with AstraZeneca to supply the country with the Oxford University's vaccine for COVID-19 without disclosing the number of doses or the delivery date.

Ahmed Salman, the only Egyptian researcher in the team working on the vaccine at Oxford University, said in a phone-in with TV anchor Amr Adib on June 13 that the vaccine is being experimented on a larger number of humans.

Salman explained that the vaccine consists of a version of coronavirus that infects chimpanzees. The virus ability to reproduce is disabled before injected into humans so as the body becomes ready to destroy COVID-19 when infected.

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