A cure for Covid-19 is the current holy grail of medical research. However, in its absence, next best would be a medicine that can alleviate the virus’s effects. Russian experts hope their new drug, Avifavir, will do the trick.
This month, 60,000 courses of the drug will be sent to hospitals across Russia. If necessary, production can be increased to two million per year. The first deliveries have already arrived in Moscow, Saint Petersburg and other regions, including Tatarstan and Kirov.
Russian anti-coronavirus drug demonstrates high efficiency
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and the Russian pharmaceutical company ‘KhimRar’ developed Avifavir, which is free to Russians under the country’s national health insurance scheme. The international chemical name of the medication is Favipiravir. It was invented in Japan and ‘KhimRar’ synthesized the new formula.
We foresee a high demand for Avifavir in Russia (and) we also received requests for deliveries of Avifavir from more than ten countries,” the Director of the RDIF, Kirill Dmitriev, explained. “The first results of clinical trials make us believe this drug is one of the most promising in the world.”
The fund’s website indicates that the medicine “demonstrated high efficiency” during clinical trials. For example, in the first four days of treatment, 65 percent of the 40 patients who took Avifavir tested negative for Covid-19 and, by the tenth day, the number of patients posting negative results increased to 90 percent.
Russian anti-coronavirus drug being rolled out to hospitals
The Russian Direct Investment Fund, and the ChemRar Group on Thursday announced the delivery of the first batch of Avifavir to Russian hospitals. Avifavir is one of the two registered COVID-19 drugs in the world.
Clinics and pharmaceutical organizations in the Moscow, Leningrad, Novgorod, Kirov and Nizhny Novgorod regions, as well as in the Republic of Tatarstan and Ekaterinburg have already received the first deliveries of the drug. 60,000 courses of Avifavirwill have been delivered to Russian hospitals in June. Production of Avifavir could be increased to two million courses per year if necessary.
Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, said, “Russian hospitals have started to receive Avifavir, the first Russian drug against coronavirus, for treating their patients. The drug will be provided free of charge under the Compulsory Health Insurance program. The drug is in high demand across Russia, with negotiations underway to arrange deliveries to almost all regions of the country. We have also received requests for deliveries of Avifavir from more than ten countries. The initial results of clinical trials make this drug one of the most promising in the world.”
Low death rate due to herd immunity?
On Thursday morning, there were 502,436 known Covid-19 cases in Russia. The official death toll is 6,532. However, this could soon rise sharply as The Health Ministry plans to adjust how it reports such numbers, to include all fatalities thought to be related to the virus, even if the main cause of death was another illness.
Russia’s relatively low number of Covid-19 fatalities has been labeled “unusual” by Michael Ryan, a World Health Organization (WHO) official. He said the low count could be down to the way the country is classifying deaths.
Speaking at a press conference, the executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme said Russia’s stats are an outlier compared to other European nations, but that he does not believe the country is covering up the scale of pandemic.
“The low death rate is difficult to understand in the context of the population and the health systems across the European region being quite similar in terms of their sophistication and availability,” Ryan said. “The age profile of people in the Russian Federation is not greatly different to that of other nations; neither is the profile of people with underlying conditions.”
As testing ramps up, a growing number of Russians are discovering that they have already had Covid-19. Results show almost 14 percent of people have immunity, meaning millions may have been infected. This research has opened up the possibilities of herd immunity in Russia, as most of the population studied possesses the necessary antibodies.
Speaking at a meeting of the national Council for Combating Coronavirus, Anna Popova, Rospotrebnadzor’s chief, said the latest data shows how immunity has spread through different age groups.
She added that, in addition to checks for antibodies, over 13.5 million tests for current coronavirus infection have been conducted, with the results showing “a clear trend of decreasing growth rates.”
The recent discovery of antibodies in millions of Russians has indicated that the country may well be on its way toward herd immunity.
RT with additional input by GVS News Desk
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