Anti-COVID-19 Drug Remdesivir
Source/ The New York Times

The World Health Organization’s emergency chief said the new coronavirus might be here to stay, warning it’s impossible to predict when the pandemic might be controlled. There’s a possibility that this virus may never go away, and all of us may have to learn to live with it.

However, Pakistan announced on Friday that it would begin “within weeks” production and export of the antiviral drug remdesivir for treating COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.

As of Friday afternoon EDT, according to Johns Hopkins University statistics, the pandemic had killed more than 306,000 people and infected more than 4.5 million worldwide since late in 2019, when it struck first in China.

Pakistan’s health minister, Zafar Mirza, told the reporters in Islamabad that a local pharmaceutical company, Ferozons Laboratories Ltd., will soon make the medicine in partnership with America’s Gilead, which developed remdesivir.

Covid 19 drug in Pakistan
Source/ Dawn

“The manufacturing of the injectable medicine will begin somewhere between six to eight weeks, and it will be available for the coronavirus patients and the general public. We will also export it to 127 countries.” Said Mirza.

Regulators in America have allowed emergency use of remdesivir, which appeared to help some coronavirus patients recover faster in clinical trials.

Four firms in India to help manufacture and supply the drug.

The U.S. pharmaceutical company has also signed agreements with four drugmakers in neighboring India to help manufacture and supply the drug to those countries.

Under the “nonexclusive licensing” pacts with the South Asian partners, Gilead said, the companies all will have the “right to receive a technology transfer of the Gilead manufacturing process for remdesivir to enable them to scale up their production quickly.”

Once production begins, the medicine will be exported to both developed and low-income nations, said Osman Khalid Waheed, who is the chief executive of the Pakistani pharmaceutical company.

Accessible drug

The idea is to make the medicine available for countries at a minimum cost and make it accessible to developing countries.

Covid 19 drug in Pakistan
Source/ Gulfnews

The population of Pakistan is 220 million, from which there were about 37,000 people who contracted the coronavirus, and more than 800 of them died since the country detected the outbreak nearly three months ago.

Ease in lockdown

Prime Minister Imran Khan vowed Friday to relax a nationwide partial lockdown further, citing a relatively deficient number of infections and deaths as opposed to the earlier official projections.

Covid 19 drug in Pakistan
Source/ The Nation

Khan defended his decision, saying while the virus-related situation remained under control, “about 150 million individuals” across Pakistan, including daily wagers and laborers, could soon begin suffering from starvation because of the economic shutdown.

“Until a vaccine is available, the coronavirus will persist irrespective of a lockdown. Hence, we will have to learn to live with it until then,” he said.

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