Eskayef Pharmaceuticals, one of the leading drug manufacturing companies of the country, has successfully produced potential coronavirus drug Remdesivir.
All procedures for production have been completed and preparations have begun from Friday morning for distribution of the drug.
"At this crucial time in the country, we are happy to give the people the good news that we have successfully completed all the steps in the manufacturing of Remdesivir, globally recognised as the only effective drug against coronavirus," Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Eskayef, Simeen Hossain told media.
This drug, manufactured by US company Gilead Sciences Inc, has created a sensation all over the world.
Last week, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Remdesivir as a drug to be used against coronavirus.
The drug administration in Japan gave its permission on 7 May to use this drug on coronavirus patients.
However, a health official there informed Reuters that it has not been determined as yet when Japan will begin the manufacture of this drug. It has been learnt that Gilead Sciences is negotiating with large companies in India and Pakistan regarding the manufacture of Remdesivir.
Eskayef is the first drug manufacturing company in the world to successfully manufacture generic Remdesivir. The brand name for Remdesivir manufactured by Eskayef is Remivir.
Simeen Hossain also said that the formulation scientists at Eskayef started working on the development of Remdesivir from mid-March immediately after the drug administration gave its approval to use this drug.
"The production process is extremely sensitive. The tireless and relentless efforts of the Eskayef personnel over the past two months have made it possible to produce the drug within such a short time span," she added.
"From Eskayef, we are fully committed to making sure that our Remdesivir is available for the patients in Bangladesh first. We are ensuring the availability of sufficient raw materials by having an agreement with API supplier," she further said.
Remdesivir, so far has been proven to be the most effective in the treatment of Covid-19. Experiments carried out by Gilead have indicated improvements in the conditions of the patients who have been treated with this drug.
The drug is to be administered intravenously. The dosage depends on the condition of the patient. Severely affected patients may need to be treated with the drug for 5 to 10 days.
Gilead has the patent for the manufacture of Remdesivir, but in accordance with international trade laws, countries like Bangladesh, recognised by the UN as lesser developed countries, are not restricted by the patent.
As a result, these countries can produce the drug at a reasonable cost. The drug, however, will not be released in the open market for the time being. It will be provided to the government-approved hospitals for coronavirus treatment.
In a discussion at the White House, the top US immunologist and director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAD), Anthony Fauci, said that it was evident that Remdesivir had a positive influence on the speedy recovery from coronavirus.
He said as there was clear evidence that this drug was effective, there was a moral obligation to inform the public about this.
Eskayef Pharmaceuticals Ltd, a part of the Transcom Ltd headed by Bangladesh's renowned businessman Latifur Rahman, has been manufacturing drugs for the past 30 years. Eskayef exports its medicines to 30 countries in the four continents - Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa – around the world.
Earlier on May 3, Bangladesh's Directorate General of Drug Administration gave permission to six pharmaceutical companies -- Beximco, Beacon, Eskayef (SK-F), Incepta, Square and Healthcare -- to produce the potential Covid-19 drug "remdesivir".