Remdesivir makes its way to Japan this week according to Japanese Health Minister Katsunobu Kato while Japan ships Avigan. Other countries start production of their own remdesivir.
According to a Reuters report, the drug may be approved in Japan during the health ministry’s review board this coming Thursday, May 6. Kato says that if the review board provides its consent, he intends to approve it right away.
A Japanese arm of U.S.-based Gilead Sciences filed an application for remdesivir earlier this week. This news came after the FDA gave its approval in the U.S. to give away the said drug supply to its COVID-19 patients.
Remdesivir availability in other countries
Japan may be the first from the Asian region to receive its supply of Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir once it gets approval from the board this Thursday.
Currently, Gilead is currently in discussions with other chemical and drug manufacturers regarding remdesivir to be produced for Europe, Asia, and the rest of the world.
Gilead also said that it was also negotiating long-term voluntary licenses with several generic drugmakers in Asia to create remdesivir for developing countries.
Another report suggests that Beximco Pharmaceuticals, one of Bangladesh’s biggest drugmakers, are pushing remdesivir production this month.
Beximco’s estimates of a remdesivir treatment are between US$295 [AU$459] and US$781 per patient depending on the coronavirus severity, the number of vials needed, and the final pricing of the drug.
Japan looking into Avigan (favipiravir) as another alternative
In the world’s efforts in looking for a cure, Japan may have found another alternative drug to help alleviate the coronavirus. Aside from remdesivir, Fujifilm is currently working on clinical trials involving favipiravir, another antiviral drug.
According to them, favipiravir works by preventing the virus from replicating in cells. Currently, the drug is expected to be shipped to 43 countries for clinical studies on its effectiveness against the coronavirus.
China was able to study favipiravir together with Japan firsthand before the rise of remdesivir.
In one of their clinical trials conducted last March, patients taking the drug tested negative for coronavirus after a median of four days, less than half the 11 days it took for patients in a control group, according to a report from the China National Center for Biotechnology Development.
According to Nikkei news, Center director Zhang Xinmin praised the drug for being “very safe and clearly effective” without any side effects.
People should see results of remdesivir sooner or later since it’s being tested all around the world. Other countries are currently doing their best to find more alternatives as the coronavirus pandemic continues.