Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony says plans are in train to purchase the drug Remdesivir to treat patients who have fallen critically-ill as a result of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Remdesivir is an anti-viral drug administered by Intravenous (IV) Therapy to COVID-19 patients suffering from severe symptoms. It is known as a nucleoside analogue, which means that it mimics a component of viral Ribonucleic acid (RNA) that the virus needs to replicate itself.
“Remdesivir is a very costly drug that is used in the US for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. We have been able to acquire this medicine out of India and the company that is manufacturing this particular drug was licensed by GILEAD to be able to produce this generic version,” Minister Anthony said.
Early international clinical trial results for the drug indicated a quicker recovery period, from 15 days to 11 days. This has earned the drug an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration in the US, allowing it to be used more widely outside of clinical trials.
The Minister explained that the drug is being made available to Guyana at a cheaper cost and has already been used to treat hospitalised and critically ill COVID-19 patients. Guyana had initially received 240 doses of the drug.
Minister Anthony also alluded to the fact that the drug was never listed on the Ministry’s inventory as it was not available for purchase on the international market.
The Minister added that the goal is to ensure that adequate doses are available as it can significantly reduce COVID-19 deaths. [Extracted and Modified from DPI]