Gilead Sciences has announced plans to help India alleviate a shortage of remdesivir, a drug widely used to treat Covid-19, as the country experiences a record increase in new infections.
The California-based pharmaceutical company said in a statement Monday evening that it would provide its voluntary licensing partners with “technical assistance”, help set up new manufacturing facilities and donate a key ingredient “to increase rapidly ‘production’ of remdesivir.
The company said its seven licensees in India had “dramatically ramped up production” of remdesivir by increasing their batch sizes, adding new manufacturing facilities and involving other contract manufacturers across the country.
Gilead said that “although these efforts should increase the availability of remdesivir in the coming weeks,” he would donate at least 450,000 vials of the antiviral to India “to help alleviate the immediate need for treatment.” .
Remdesivir was once hailed as a wonder drug to treat Covid-19, but the World Health Organization concluded last year that it had no significant effect on a patient’s chances of survival. It has, however, been an important part of India’s efforts to deal with the coronavirus.
India recently set a record for the number of new coronavirus cases reported in a single day in any country, and the spike in infections has put a strain on its hospital system. New Delhi authorities have prohibited use oxygen cylinders, except for essential industries.
In mid-April, India blocked remdesivir exports for fear there would be a shortage of medicine. A few days later, more than 800 drug shots were stolen a government hospital in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh state, exacerbating supply constraints.
Europe and UK are ready to step up aid to India. The Biden administration said on Monday that the United States would send up to 60m of doses Oxford / AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine abroad. While the White House has not said where the hits will go, demand from India is likely to be high.