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Zydus pegs price of COVID-19 drug Virafin at Rs 11,995, says it can cut oxygen dependency in patients

The reduction in usage of supplemental oxygen, as claimed by Zydus, could come as a relief to states that are struggling in the COVID-19 fight due to the stressed supply of medical oxygen.

May 11, 2021 / 02:43 PM IST
[Image: Shutterstock]

[Image: Shutterstock]

After receiving emergency use approval for the use of 'Virafin' in treating moderate COVID-19 cases, Zydus Cadila has pegged the price of the drug at Rs 11,995 per dose and has started dispatches, CNBC TV-18 reported citing Cogencis as the source.

Virafin is a single-dose therapy for COVID patients that received emergency use approval from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI),  the country's apex medicine regulator approval, on April 23. Zydus claims that the drug can cut oxygen support needed by COVID patients, the report added.

Virafin, technically referred to as Pegylated Interferon alpha-2b, showed clinical and virological improvement in moderate COVID-19 cases, the company said, as per the CNBC-TV18 report.

"The fact that we are able to offer a therapy which significantly reduces the viral load when given early on can help in better disease management. It comes at a much-needed time for patients and we will continue to provide them access to critical therapies in this battle against COVID-19," Dr Sharvil Patel, Managing Director, Cadila Healthcare Limited had earlier said in a statement, the report added.

Zydus has claimed that "91.15 percent of patients treated with PegIFN were RT-PCR negative by day 7", the report added.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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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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With an unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases across the country, several states are struggling with oxygen shortages. The Health Ministry on May 11 reported more than 3 lakh new infections in the last 24 hours.

Several states across the country have flagged oxygen shortages. The reduction in usage of supplemental oxygen, as claimed by Zydus, could come as a relief to states that are struggling in the COVID-19 fight due to the stressed supply of medical oxygen.
Moneycontrol News
first published: May 11, 2021 02:42 pm

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