The Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) announced on February 24 that it has made Remdesivir Injection and API, Amphotericin-B Injections, Enoxaparin (Formulation and API), and Intra-Venous Immunoglobulin (IVIG) as ‘freely’ exportable, effective immediately.
The announcement comes at a time the COVID-19 situation in the country is relatively under control with declining daily coronavirus cases and limited hospitalisations.
Until now, the Government of India used to allow restricted export of injection Remdesivir and Remdesivir Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) – a drug that is used in COVID-19 treatment.
In the wake of the second wave of the pandemic, when COVID-19 cases had increased sharply, the Centre had, on April 11, halted the export of Remdesivir injection and API. At the time, there was a growing demand for Remdesivir injections in the country.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Remdesivir is an injectable antiviral drug produced by Gilead Sciences Inc. It is the first drug to have received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in October 2020, making it the first medicine for treating COVID-19 infections. It is said to shorten the recovery of the patients by controlling the multiplication of the virus within.Seven Indian companies - Mylan, Hetero, Jubiliant Life Sciences, Cipla, Dr Reddy's, Zydus Cadila and Sun Pharma – produce Remdesivir injections under licensing agreement with Gilead Sciences. The total installed capacity of the seven manufacturers of Remdesivir was 38.80 lakh vials per month until the government had stepped in last year and announced setting up of seven additional sites with a production capacity of 10 lakh vials per month to tackle the sharp rise in demand of the drug during the second wave of the pandemic.