Iranian-made medicine raises hope to treat severe cases of COVID-19

March 11, 2020 - 18:56

TEHRAN – The Iranian health ministry has announced that testing a domestically-made medicine has resulted in improvement of symptoms in severe cases of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

An immunomodulatory drug called "Actemra" in patients with coronavirus in a hospital in Isfahan city has led to a partial improvement of the patient's symptoms in scans, health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said, ISNA reported on Wednesday.

The first case undergone trial, and symptoms have declined within 48 hours after consumption, but it is still too early to judge, he added.

Over the coming days, this trial will continue in other patients with the diagnosis of physicians, and if it has a relative effect, it will likely be included in the national pharmaceutical list, and case reports in China also indicate its relative usefulness in some cases of COVID-19 severe cases, he explained.

However, the mass production of this medicine, due to the localization of the technology, can be marketed in about three weeks, he highlighted.

 He went on to say that at the same time, the potential benefits of two other biosimilar drugs that are domestically produced are also discussed, including interferon alfa and interferon beta, both have several domestic manufacturers in the country.

However, Tocilizumab is not yet on the official drug list of the country and needs further investigation as efficacy studies have begun, he concluded.

Following the outbreak of COVID-19, some 9,000 people have so far been infected in the country, with a death toll of 354.

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