A large shipment of antiviral drug remdesivir supplied by India arrived in Ho Chi Minh City this evening, the first batch of the one million doses promised for Vietnam within this month.
Vietnamese Ambassador to India Pham Sanh Chau posted some photos of the shipment on his official Twitter account on Thursday night.
Developed by US pharmaceutical firm Gilead Sciences, remdesivir was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in October last year “for use in adult and pediatric patients 12 years of age and older and weighing at least 40 kilograms (about 88 pounds) for the treatment of COVID-19 requiring hospitalization.”
The World Health Organization, however, issued a conditional recommendation against the drug in November 2020, saying there was no evidence that it improves survival.
Vietnam’s remdesivir supply comes from a deal struck between the Vietnamese embassy in India and major pharmas Hetero, Dr. Reddy, Cipla, Jubilant, Mylan, Zydus and Cadila.
Vietnamese deputy health minister Nguyen Truong Son said on Tuesday that the government was considering adding the antiviral drug as COVID-19 treatment, given the fact it’s already been used in several countries.
The Indian government initially banned the export of the drug following a major outbreak in April, but eventually lifted it in mid-June. Remdesivir is currently used in 50 countries such as Australia, South Korea and Japan.
Nguyen Truong Son also said that through donations and aid, Vietnam has used remdesivir to treat COVID-19 patients at some medical facilities. The results showed that the drug helped patients reduce their viral load quickly.
The Ministry of Health clarified that the use of the drug will depend on the doctors at medical facilities, and will not be available for sale to individuals or home use. It will be used for moderate and severe COVID-19 patients according to the guidelines in the treatment protocol of the MoH. The 500,000 vials are capable of supporting the treatment of between 80,000 to 100,000 COVID-19 patients.
The Drug Administration of Vietnam said earlier this week that research on remdesivir is currently being done, hoping it would be effective in reducing COVID-19 related deaths.
More than a hundred days since the fourth wave started, Vietnam has recorded 181,102 infections and 2,685 deaths. In total, Vietnam’s confirmed coronavirus cases stand at 185,057 and 2,720 deaths.
On Thursday alone, the country saw 7,244 new cases — the majority of which were detected in quarantine zones and locked down areas. Thursday night’s 3,301 cases were reported in:
Ho Chi Minh City (1,537), Long An (526), Binh Duong (325), Dong Nai (248), Khanh Hoa (96), Dong Thap (82), Binh Thuan (75), Ha Noi (69), Can Tho (52), Ba Ria-Vung Tau (46), Phu Yen (38), Ben Tre (36), Ninh Thuan (32) Gia Lai (24), Dak Lak (23), Hai Duong (21), Quang Ngai (10), Quang Nam (9) Binh Phuoc (8), Thai Binh (7), Dak Nong (7), Thua Thien-Hue (6), Ha Tinh (5), Lao Cai (5), Quang Binh (2), Bac Ninh (2), Bac Giang (2), Thanh Hoa (1), Hung Yen (1), Yen Bai (1), Bac Lieu (1), and Ca Mau (1).