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Sunday May 31 2020

AGP Ltd to sell COVID-19 treatment remdesivir in Pakistan soon

The drug remdesivir appears to help treat those suffering from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Photo: AFP/File

AGP Ltd, a Pakistan-based pharmaceutical company, plans to sell the COVID-19 treatment drug named remdesivir one to two months from now in the country, Bloomberg reported.

Remdesivir is a an antiviral drug which has cut the duration of symptoms from 15 days to 11 in clinical trials at hospitals around the world.

According to AGP chief executive Nusrat Munshi, the pharmaceutical company will seek permission from the country’s drug authority to import the medicine from Mylan, a pharmaceutical from Netherlands. A similar arrangement is in place with Mylan for the import of Hepatitis C treatment Sovaldi. AGP is Mylan’s exclusive distributor in Pakistan.

Also read: Remdesivir cuts recovery time in coronavirus patients: study

The global push to develop coronavirus treatments and vaccines is speeding up as governments search for ways to ease lockdowns safely and resume financial activities to restart economies.

The development comes a few weeks after remdesivir's original creator Foster City, California-based Gilead Sciences Inc., which originally developed the drug in 2010 to treat Ebola, signed agreements with four generic drug manufacturers in India, including Mylan’s unit in the country, and one in Pakistan to accelerate development and assist in meeting the expected demand.

"A unit of Pakistan’s Ferozsons Laboratories Ltd. is currently the only licensee in the country," the report highlighted.

Moderna Inc.’s vaccine passed a crucial early safety test last week, and countries from the UK to China are pushing ahead to develop their own vaccines.

Also read: Remdesivir maker in talks with Pakistani, Indian firms to produce COVID-19 drug

As of now, AGP has also sold about 100,000 anti-body test kits since last month to hospitals and private companies looking to test their staff as more people return to work after ease in lockdown imposed by the government ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr.

"The company has another 100,000 kits and is considering importing more as it is seeing high demand, according to Munshi," the report highlighted.