‘Govt still not satisfied with the efficacy of antiviral drugs Remdesivir, Favipiravir in fighting COVID-19’

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By Priyanka Sharma
New Delhi [India], May 15 (ANI): The Union Health Ministry is still not satisfied with the efficacy of two antiviral drugs--Remdesivir and Favipiravir--for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
A recent meeting was held by the joint-monitoring group (technical committee) at the health ministry to discuss the effectiveness of these two antiviral drugs on coronavirus patients.
Experts from ICMR, NCDC, DCGI, WHO representatives, AIIMS, DGHS, Ministry of animal husbandry among others were part of the high-level meeting.
A senior government official told ANI: "The technical committee has not found these two antiviral drugs fit for the usage in the covid19 treatment because there is no concrete evidence to determine the efficacy of the drugs."
"The countries which have used these two antiviral drugs did not show good results on the coronavirus patients. Neither, it reduced the mortality rate nor it reduces the hospitalization time," said the official.
"Till the time, we only recommend hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as prophylaxis of COVID in selected individuals. It includes asymptomatic healthcare workers involved in the care of suspected or confirmed cases of COVID, asymptomatic household contacts of laboratory-confirmed cases, a combination of HCQ with Azithromycin on patients with severe disease and requiring ICU management," said the official, adding that HCQ has to be given only on the prescription of a registered medical practitioner as per government guidelines.
Glenmark is the first company in India to initiate phase-3 clinical trials on Favipiravir for COVID-19 patients in India after the approval from the country's top drug regulator.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued an emergency use authorization for the investigational antiviral drug remdesivir for the treatment of suspected or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in adults and children hospitalized with severe disease.
"Drug controller has not received a single application from a pharmaceutical company showing interest to conduct a trial on antiviral drug remdesivir for COVID-19 treatment," said the official.
Earlier this week, Gilead has signed non-exclusive voluntary licensing agreements with five generic pharmaceutical manufacturers based in India and Pakistan to further expand the supply of remdesivir, it said in a statement. (ANI)