Days after receiving approval for emergency use of its medicine ‘Virafin’ to treat moderate cases of COVID-19, Zydus Cadila has reportedly pegged the price of the drug at Rs 11,995 per dose. According to a report in Moneycontrol, the pharma company has started making dispatches of the drug that it claims can reduce oxygen support required by infected patients.
The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), the country’s apex medicine regulator, granted approval to Virafin, a single-use therapy, on April 23.
Zydus Cadila has claimed outlined this medicine, technically referred to as Pegylated Interferon alpha-2b, can be given when there is a moderate degree of infection. When the viral load is between moderate and high, the need for oxygen is rapid. So, by administering this medicine, the viral load will decrease, and the need for oxygen will also reduce.
“The fact that we are able to offer a therapy which significantly reduces the viral load when given early on can help in better disease management. It comes at a much-needed time for patients and we will continue to provide them access to critical therapies in this battle against COVID-19," Dr Sharvil Patel, managing director of Cadila Healthcare Limited, was quoted as saying in the report.
Zydus has claimed that “91.15 percent of patients treated with PegIFN were RT-PCR negative by day 7", the report added.
During the phase three trial, most of those suffering from moderate effects of Covid-19 infection reported zero viral load within the seven days of administering a single dose of this drug, Zydus said. Therefore, the inference that has been drawn is that this drug can reduce the viral load faster. On that basis, it has received an emergency use authorisation from the DCGI.
Since it has received an emergency authorisation, this medicine will be available for restricted use and can be given only when prescribed by a doctor and administered under supervised conditions. Therefore, this medicine should not be given to Covid-19 patients over the counter without any prescription to avoid misuse or ill-use.
So far, several medicines have been made available to alleviate the effects of covid-19. For example, Remdesivir is being given to COVID-19 patients, and it is one of the most popular drugs. There is also Fabiflu. These medicines are all anti-viral, and COVID-19 patients had shown positive improvements when these drugs were administered. However, so far, there is no medicine, which is an absolute cure for COVID.