Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic around the world, doctors and researchers have tried dozens of drugs and treatment methods to combat the negative effect of the virus on the health of the infected patients. The most recent discovery against COVID-19 was Remdesivir, which Nigeria plans to use for coronavirus treatment soon. Find out more about the drug and how much it can cost!
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1. What Is Remdesivir?
Remdesivir is by no means a brand new drug. It has been widely known since at least 2015, when it has been widely used for the treatment of Ebola. Remdesivir is an antiviral drug that was first formulated and is still produced by Gilead Sciences, a biopharmaceutical company located in California, USA. It was originally developed as a drug against several common types of viruses, including pneumoviruses and coronaviruses. Lately, it has become the most promising drug in the battle against COVID-19.
2. How Does It Work?
Since February of 2020, Remdesivir has been constantly tested in regards to its effect against the coronavirus. Although the early trials in China in February and March have proven to be unsuccessful and researchers reported the drug causing a variety of side effects without any sizable effect against COVID-19, the trials continued in the US and by the World Health Organization.
The trials have shown that Remdesivir is able to slow down or, in some cases, completely stop the progression of coronavirus. It has proven to be particularly effective against lung symptoms of the coronavirus, which usually take place in later stages of the disease and are one of the primary reasons why COVID-19 has a relatively high mortality rate. Remdesivir has also been found to speed up the recovery process: compared to those taking placebo drugs, patients taking Remdesivir recovered 31% faster.
Essentially, Remdesivir modifies the genome of the coronavirus and prevents it from replicating at its usual rate. The results of the trials have been so promising that new trials are already being planned and carried out by the researchers. In the meantime, Remdesivir is getting more widely used in US hospitals and has already been approved by several other countries, including Japan.
3. Remdesivir In Nigeria
Last week, it was reported that Nigeria is planning to purchase the Remdesivir drug from the US pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences to use against the coronavirus. The news was announced by Chikwe Ihekweazu, the director-general of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control. Ihekweazu said that the idea to use Remdesivir against COVID-19 is a medical victory, as it is the first drug that has shown noticeable efficiency against the disease.
The process of bringing Remdesivir into Nigeria is not easy. Chikwe Ihekweazu said the NCDC plans to negotiate with NAFDAC to speed up the regulatory process and make it widely available for the treatment of Nigerian citizens. The price of Remdesivir and whether Nigerian patients will need to pay for it from their own pocket is currently unclear, but while the reported cost of producing one dose of Remdesivir is $10, or ₦3,900, the actual price of the drug can reach $4,500, or ₦1.75 million.