COVID-19: Hetero releases generic Remdesivir ‘Covifor’, check cost per injection

Grant Boone
June 29, 2020

Gilead's investigational drug, remdesivir, is now administered in hospitals through daily infusions.

Gilead Sciences plans to start testing an inhaled formulation of its lead COVID-19 therapy remdesivir - now dosed intravenously - that could allow it to be given to earlier-stage patients outside hospital.

So far, the only drug that has reduced mortality in COVID-19 is dexamethasone, a low-priced generic steroid that cut the death rate for the most seriously-ill patients by 41% at 28 days in the large-scale RECOVERY trial. Among the patients who suffered a tough form of the disease, the time of recovery made 12 days in the remdesivir group, and 18 days in the placebo group.

In May, Gilead Sciences extended a voluntary non-exclusive license to Cipla to manufacture and market Cipla's generic version of remdesivir called CIPREMI. Remdesivir is now being used to treat patients through emergency use authorizations and other access programs around the world.

Remdesivir has been approved for emergency use in severely-ill patients in the United States, India and South Korea, and has received full approval in Japan.

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A Gilead small trial with Remdesivir in moderate patients itself showed a betterment rate of only 65 per cent in clinical symptoms, compared to patients with standard treatments. Remdesivir has been previously investigated in humans with Ebola and has shown promise in animal models of MERS and SARS, both closely related to the 2019 novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. "For patients who are at high risk of disease progression, it could be particularly beneficial to start treatment outside the hospital,"'said Daniel O'Day, chairman and chief executive, Gilead Sciences. The company is also exploring the use of remdesivir in combination with other therapeutics, with an aim to improve patient outcomes.

The firm will also study the potential of combining remdesivir with two immune modulators - the JAK inhibitor baricitinib, and the IL-6 receptor antagonist tocilizumab.

Can Gilead Sciences meet demand for remdesivir?

"Last week, we announced that we are about to begin a clinical trial for children".

As of this morning - Tuesday June 22 - the current recorded case count for COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the United Kingdom has reached 305,289 with 42,647 deaths.

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