Iran to start producing COVID-19 drug remdesivir next week

July 15, 2020 - 18:24

TEHRAN – Iran will start producing the antiviral agent remdesivir for the treatment of coronavirus patients next week, Health Minister Saeed Namaki said on Wednesday.

So far, no effective and reliable medicine has been identified for the treatment of coronavirus in the world, but remdesivir is prescribed for patients with this virus in Europe and the United States, he stated.

He went on to note that although the medicine is available sufficiently in the country, its domestic production will start next week.

The broad-spectrum antiviral agent remdesivir is a nucleotide analog prodrug. On May 1, The U.S. FDA issued EUA of remdesivir to allow emergency use of the agent for severe COVID-19 (confirmed or suspected) in hospitalized adults and children. A phase 1b trial of an inhaled nebulized version was initiated in late June to determine if remdesivir can be used on an outpatient basis and at earlier stages of disease.

Remdesivir was studied in clinical trials for Ebola virus infections but showed limited benefit. Remdesivir has been shown to inhibit replication of other human coronaviruses associated with high morbidity in tissue cultures, including severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) in 2003 and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in 2012.

The number of people diagnosed with coronavirus in Iran reached 264,561 on Wednesday, of whom 13,410 have died and 227,561 recovered so far. Over the past 24 hours, 2,388 new cases of people having the virus have been identified, and 199 died, Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said.

Currently, 3,411 patients with coronavirus are in critical condition, she added.

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