Science & Tech Current Affairs

Science & Technology Current Affairs 2019-2020 category comprises current affairs with all important national / international updates in science and tech and events for the year 2019-2020 for UPSC, States, Civil services, SSC and other competitive examinations of India and States.

Hetero’s injectable ‘Covifor’ gets DCGI approval for COVID-19 Treatment

For the treatment of COVID-19 positive cases, on 21st June 2020, Hyderabad based pharmaceutical company -Hetero Drugs has received approval from the Drug Controller General of India (a department under- CDSCO: Central Drugs Standard Control Organization) for manufacturing and marketing of antiviral drug Remdesivir.

Brandname for Marketing

Under the brand name ‘Covifor’, Hetero Pharmaceuticals’ generic version of Remdesivir will be marketed in India.

The drug is manufactured at the Hetero company’s Hyderabad facility, while its Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) is being developed at Andhra Pradesh’s Visakhapatnam.

Remdesivir

The antiviral drug ‘Remdesivir’ is administered via injection into a vein. This antiviral medication was developed by the United States biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences for treatment of Hepatitis C.

United Kingdom, Singapore, and Japan are the countries where the drug has been approved to date for the treatment of COVID-19 cases.

Price and Availability

As it is an injectable drug,  it has to be administered under the supervision of a healthcare practitioner and will not be available through any retail channel. The drug will be made available for hospitals and government healthcare agencies. It will be available in a 100mg injectable dose. The price will be in the range of Rs 5,000 to 6,000 per dose.

Hetero has targeted to manufacture one lakh doses of it in the upcoming weeks, the company has stated that production can be increased based on the demand.

Covifor will be used for the treatment of confirmed COVID-19 cases for those who have severe symptoms of the disease.

India’s First Oral Vaccine for Moderate COVID-19 Cases gets Approval

For the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 positive patients across the country, on 19th June 2020, for manufacturing and marketing of oral antiviral drug ‘Favipiravir (Fabiflu)’ was approved by the National Regulatory Authority for Indian pharmaceuticals -Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) to Mumbai based Glenmark Pharmaceuticals.

The approval for the drug was given in India based on the global evidence of the ongoing clinical trial on 150 subjects. The drug must be strictly sold by the pharmacists to customers having a valid prescription.

Background

The drug has shown notable efficacy as per results from Russia and Japan. Japan and Russia have already approved the drug for COVID-19 treatment on 15th March and 1st June 2020 respectively.

Favipiravir

It is an antiviral drug that was approved first in the year 2014 in Japan. Tokyo based Toyama Chemicals was the first to develop and manufacture the drug. The drug has been used to treat a number of viral infections over the years, especially for influenza. In 2019 it became a generic drug.

The drug targets the Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) polymerase (RdRp) enzymes that are dependent on RNA. For transcription and replication, the RNA polymerase enzymes are necessary for the DNA or RNA genes of the virus.

Medication

Glenmark Pharmaceuticals has assured the availability of the drugs in the next 7 to 10 days across the country. The price of each tablet will be Rs 103/-. The tablets will be available in a combined strip of 34. The cost of the strip will be Rs 3,500. Each tablet will be of 200 mg.

On the first day of treatment, the patient is advised to take 18 tablets (9 each in the morning and evening). From the second day onwards, 4 tablets each in the morning and evening. The company has stated that the treatment through Favipiravir could last up to 14 days.

The medication is for COVID-19 positive patients in the age group from 18 to 75 years having mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19.