On Thursday, Russia, who now has over half a million cases of the deadly COVID-19 infection, rolled out a drug approved to treat patients suffering from the novel virus, its state financial backer said. Cases of coronavirus in the country show no signs of abating as yet.
In a press release, Russia’s RDIF sovereign wealth fund said that the first deliveries of the new anti-COVID drug, which is registered under the name Avifavir, were made to some hospitals and clinics across the country. RDIF has funded trials and has a 50 per cent share in the drug’s manufacturer ChemRar.
The health ministry approved this drug's use under a special accelerated process, even as drugmakers across the world rush to fund a cure for the deadly virus that has now infected more than 7 million people globally. Currently, there is no vaccine against the coronavirus, and human trials of several existing antiviral drugs have yet to show efficacy.
RDIF chief Kirill Dmitriev, on Thursday, said that more than 10 countries had made requests for Avifavir supplies. Last week, he said that the plan was for ChemRar to manufacture enough of the drug to treat around 60,000 people a month.
Negotiations were underway to supply the drug to almost all of Russia’s regions, with seven of its more than 80 regions receiving Thursday’s initial deliveries, Dmitriev added.
After the United States and Brazil, Russia has the third highest number of COVID-19 infections with 502,436 cases. However, the official death toll of the country remains relatively lower with 6,532 people dying due to the novel virus.