Pharma giant Gilead’s antiviral drug Remdesivir has won US regulatory approval for emergency use in patients that are severely ill from Covid-19.

Minister of Health and Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan has said India is part of World Health Organisation’s (WHO) solidarity trials to combat coronavirus and has received 1,000 doses of Remdesivir, which will be tested on some patients across states.

In an exclusive interview with CNN-News18, Vardhan said: “It’s an important subject that is being discussed at the highest level in the government. Scientists at ICMR and CSIR are also deliberating upon this issue. Right now, we are in a position to participate in the WHO solidarity trial and have got some 1,000-odd doses given by the WHO. We will be able to use them for clinical trials in some patients in some states in India.”

Pharma giant Gilead’s antiviral drug Remdesivir has won US regulatory approval for emergency use in patients that are severely ill from Covid-19. The FDA’s approval for administering the drug to treat Covid-19 patients was based on preliminary results from a controlled, randomised trial by the US National Institutes of Health involving 1,063 severely ill cases. The study showed that patients dosed with Remdesivir had a 31 per cent faster recovery time than those given a placebo.

Gilead Sciences has said that its antiviral drug will be available to patients as early as this week.

Earlier, in an exclusive interaction with Moneycontrol, a Gilead spokesperson had said that the company is open to collaborate with governments, pharmaceutical companies, including from India, and is even considering proposals of patent-pooling to expand capacity and provide access to Remdesivir for Covid-19 patients across the world.

Asked about the controversy around the import of faulty testing kits from China, the health minister said: “ICMR and the empowered committee have followed the procedure for procurement of kits and they had given the contract to the lowest bidder. Unfortunately, kits coming from China were ineffective. As soon as we came to know about it, we stopped using them. Also, we have not paid anything to China for these kits.”