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COVID-19: Centre discontinues remdesivir allocation to states, says supply is more than demand

The Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers said that the production of remdesivir had been ramped up ten times from 33,000 vials/day on April 11, 2021, to 3,50,000 vials/day on May 29.

May 29, 2021 / 02:52 PM IST
Remdesivir is being widely used in treating COVID-19 patients and its demand has skyrocketed following a surge in coronavirus cases in India.(Representative image)

Remdesivir is being widely used in treating COVID-19 patients and its demand has skyrocketed following a surge in coronavirus cases in India.(Representative image)


The Centre, on May 29, announced that it will discontinue central allocation of remdesivir to states. Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers Mansukh Mandaviya has directed the National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Agency and CDSCO to continuously monitor the availability of Remdesivir in the country.

Taking to Twitter, Mandaviya said, "Now the country has enough remdesivir as the supply is much more than the demand. So we have decided to discontinue the Central Allocation of remdesivir to states."

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The Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers said that the production of remdesivir had been ramped up ten times from 33,000 vials/day on April 11, 2021, to 3,50,000 vials/day on May 29.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

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How does a vaccine work?

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.

How many types of vaccines are there?

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.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

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.

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"The government has also increased the number of plants producing remdesivir from 20 to 60 plants within a month. Now the country has enough remdesivir as the supply is much more than the demand," Mandaviya said as quoted by the statement.

Further, the Centre has also decided to procure 50 lakh vials of remdesivir to maintain it as a strategic stock for the emergency requirement, he said.

The demand for the COVID-19 drug has dropped in line with the falling cases. The single-day rise in coronavirus cases was recorded at 1,73,790, the lowest in the last 45 days on May 29. India's total tally of COVID-19 cases has reached 2,77,29,247, according to the Union health ministry data updated.

The daily positivity further declined to 8.36 per cent, remaining below 10 per cent for five consecutive days, while the weekly positivity rate dropped to 9.84 percent, it said.

The active cases have also reduced to 22,28,724 with a decline of 1,14,428 cases being recorded in the active caseload.

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first published: May 29, 2021 02:52 pm
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