Sun Pharmaceutical Industries will donate Rs 25 crore worth of Hydroxychloroquine (HCQS), Azithromycin, other related drugs and hand sanitisers to support India's fight against COVID-19, according to a company statement.
The national task force for COVID-19 has recommended the prophylactic use of HCQS for high risk population. HCQS is being studied by the World Health Organization (WHO) for use in conjunction with Azithromycin to treat COVID-19, it added.
"The company is committed to working closely with the governments and relevant stakeholders to ensure that there is uninterrupted supply of medicines," Sun Pharma said in a statement.
The company is constituting a task force to handle the distribution of these products in India, it added.
Commending the efforts of the entire medical and support fraternity in fighting COVID-19, Sun Pharma said," To help these front-line warriors, the company has repurposed its liquid manufacturing facility in India to produce high-quality hand sanitisers".
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.
These will be made available to healthcare professionals serving their communities and the nation, it added.
In a related development, the company's arm Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Inc USA said it has donated 2.5 million hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets for use in the US.
The company is seeking to enable healthcare experts meet the growing patient demands for this product as they assess its potential to treat COVID-19 through clinical trials, it said in a statement.