Egyptian drugmaker Eva Pharma said it has provided Egyptian hospitals with adequate quantities of antiviral treatment remdesivir needed for severely-ill coronavirus patients, according to the company’s CEO Riad Armanious.
The experimental drug has proved effective as a supportive medicine in treating certain hospitalised COVID-19 patients in some countries.
Remdesivir was granted approval from the Egyptian drug authority for sale only to hospitals on Wednesday, Armanious said in TV comments late on Saturday, adding that in the three days until Saturday, the company managed to meet demand from all hospitals that ordered the drug.
“Treatment [using the drug] has started for a number of patients in critical condition since Thursday,” he said.
“We have produced adequate quantities… to cover all severely-ill patients,” he added.
The drug helps block the virus from replicating itself inside the body and prevent its complications, he clarified.
The antiviral treatment is only advised for critical cases and is only prescribed at hospitals under medical supervision.
Remdesivir, originally developed to treat Ebola, appears to shorten the recovery time of COVID-19 patients and was granted emergency use authorisation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for COVID-19 on 1 May.
It is mainly used for severe cases, patients with blood oxygen levels of 94% or those who need mechanical ventilators or life support using an ECMO, a machine that oxygenates the red blood cells.
Data from a US clinical trial in late April indicated that patients receiving remdesivir had a 31% faster recovery time than the placebo group.
Eva pharma became a licensed manufacturer of the antiviral treatment in 127 countries after striking a deal with US Company Gliead earlier this month.
Last week, the Egyptian pharmaceutical company said it had begun manufacturing antiviral treatment Avipiravir, the first medicine approved in Russia to treat COVID-19 patients.
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.
Egypt has logged a total of 63,923 coronavirus cases as of Saturday, including 2,708 deaths and 18,658 recoveries.