Egyptian drugmaker Eva Pharma said it has begun manufacturing antiviral treatment Avipiravir, which has proved effective in treating COVID-19 patients in Russia amid ongoing trials of the same drug in Japan and other countries.
The company has begun producing the drug at its factories in Egypt after conducting necessary manufacturing trials, Riad Armanious, CEO of Eva Pharma, said in a statement sent to Ahram Online late on Monday. The company is coordinating with relevant Egyptian authorities to make the drug available for treating the highly contagious virus in the coming period, he added.
The Egyptian drug would contain the same active substance of Favipiravir, an oral antiviral drug originally approved for the treatment of influenza in Japan. It is currently being tested to treat COVID-19 under different brand names in Japan, Italy and the UK.
Armanious said Eva Pharma aims to meet local demand of the drug, as well as export it to a number of countries in the Middle East, Africa and beyond.
The medicine, which will be available in tablets, will be priced at around EGP 4,500 or less per treatment course, said Amgad Talaat, Eva Pharma’s General Manager.
Russia started earlier this month using the drug, known there as Avifavir -- its first treatment approved to treat COVID-19 patients -- after clinical trials had shown it successfully treated the virus in most cases within a few days. It said it was planning to deliver as many as 60,000 courses to hospitals in June.
Monday's announcement by Eva Pharma comes nearly a week after the pharmaceutical company reached a “landmark” deal with Gilead Sciences Inc to become a licensed manufacturer of the US company's antiviral treatment remdesivir for COVID-19 in 127 countries.
Remdesivir, originally developed to treat Ebola, appears to shorten the recovery time of COVID-19 patients. The experimental drug has recently been authorised for the treatment of certain hospitalised patients in a number of countries including the US, the UK and Japan.
The Egyptian drug manufacturer is waiting for registration approval by Egypt’s health authorities this week, after which the medicine will be ready for sale, a source at the company told Ahram Online earlier.
No vaccine for COVID-19 has yet been developed, and many countries are conducting human trials of several existing antiviral drugs to prove their efficacy.