|The WHO has rejected remdesivir as an effective treatment against coronavirus. (File photo by= Reuters/ A. Abdallah Dalsh)|
[Asia News Communication = Reporter Reakkana] On Sunday (Apr 11), India banned the export of antiviral drug Remdesivir and its active pharmaceutical ingredients as demand rocketed due to a record surge in COVID-19 infections and led to crippling shortages in many parts, Reuters said.
India, known as the pharmacy of the world, has already stalled major exports of coronavirus vaccines. In addition to the Remdesivir ban "till the situation improves'', the health ministry said in a statement that manufacturers had been asked to step up supplies. Seven Indian companies have licensed the drug from Gilead Sciences, with an installed capacity of about 3.9 million units per month, for local use and exports to more than 100 countries.
Authorities blamed the rapid resurgence of the virus mainly on crowding and a reluctance to wear masks. However, religious gatherings have continued and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have themselves addressed election campaigns attended by tens of thousands of people, many without masks and hardly any following social distancing. New COVID-19 cases increased to 152,879 on Sunday, the sixth record rise in seven days, overwhelming hospitals in some regions. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization in November issued a conditional recommendation against the use of Remdesivir in hospitalized patients, regardless of disease severity, saying there’s no evidence that the drug improved survival and other outcomes in these patients.