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Government halts export of Remdesivir till COVID-19 situation improves

The Centre has taken the step at a time when the country is seeing a growing demand for Remdesivir injections due to a steep rise in COVID-19 cases in the wake of the second wave of the pandemic.

April 11, 2021 / 08:38 PM IST
Remdesivir [Image: Reuters]

Remdesivir [Image: Reuters]

The Government of India, on April 11, halted the export of COVID-19 treatment drug Remdesivir till the pandemic situation in the country -- which is witnessing the second wave -- improves.

The Government of India said: "Export of injection Remdesivir and Remdesivir Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) prohibited till the COVID-19 situation in the country improves."

The Centre has taken the step at a time when the country is seeing a growing demand for Remdesivir injections due to a steep rise in COVID-19 cases in the wake of the second wave of the pandemic.

The Centre notification released on April 11 read: “India is witnessing a recent surge in COVID-19 cases. As on 11.04.2021, there are 11.08 lakh active COVID-19 cases, and they are steadily increasing. This has led to a sudden spike in demand for injection Remdesivir used to treat coronavirus patients. There is a potential of further increase in this demand in the coming days.”

Additionally, to ensure easy access of hospitals and patients to Remdesivir, the Centre has taken the following steps:

All domestic manufactures of Remdesivir have been advised to display on their website, details of their stockists/distributors to facilitate access to the drug.

Drug inspectors and other officers have been directed to verify stocks and check their malpractices and also take other effective actions to curb hoarding and black marketing. The state Health Secretaries will review this with the Drug Inspectors of the respective states/UTs.


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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The Department of Pharmaceuticals has been in contact with the domestic manufacturers to ramp up the production of Remdesivir in India.

Notably, there are seven Indian companies that are currently producing injection Remdesivir under voluntary licensing agreement with M/s Gilead Sciences, USA. They have an installed capacity of about 38.80 lakh units per month, according to the Centre notification.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Apr 11, 2021 05:38 pm

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