Gilead Allows Distribution of Antiviral Drug Remdesivir in Georgia

Gilead Sciences, a U.S.-based biotech firm, has signed licensing agreements with five generic pharmaceutical companies, allowing the drugmakers to manufacture antiviral drug remdesivir for distribution in 127 countries, including Georgia.

Gilead permitted following pharmaceutical firms– Cipla Ltd., Ferozsons Laboratories, Hetero Labs Ltd., Jubilant Lifesciences and Mylan – to manufacture remdesivir for distribution in mostly low and lower-middle income countries “that face significant obstacles to healthcare access,” reads the statement released on May 12.

“The licenses are royalty-free until the World Health Organization declares the end of the Public Health Emergency of International Concern regarding COVID-19, or until a pharmaceutical product other than remdesivir or a vaccine is approved to treat or prevent COVID-19, whichever is earlier,” Gilead stated.

Gilead’s Investigational antiviral remdesivir received U.S. Food and Drug Administration emergency authorization for the treatment of the novel coronavirus on May 1, enabling broader use of remdesivir to treat hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19 disease in the U.S. Based on severity of the disease, authorization allows 5-day and 10-day treatments, Gilead noted.

Deputy Health Minister Tamar Gabunia stated on May 13 that Georgia will receive remdesivir in the framework of Solidarity, a randomized clinical trial, launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) to assess effectiveness of several antiviral drugs. On the whole, seven Georgian medical facilities, dubbed as “COVID-19 centers,” will be supplied with the new drug.

According to Amiran Gamkrelidze, head of NCDC, Georgia was selected to participate in the trial due to its track record of using antiviral medication against infectious diseases, hepatitis C in particular.

Tengiz Tsertsvadze, who leads a group of medical experts tasked with devising COVID-19 detection and treatment guidelines in Georgia, expressed hope on April 30 that Georgia would be one of the first countries to receive remdesivir from Gilead Sciences.

Georgia’s hepatitis C elimination program, first of its kind in the world, was launched in 2015 and has been financed by Gilead Sciences. Top infectious disease expert then stressed that based on the country’s years-long cooperation with Gilead Sciences, Georgian health authorities have directly appealed to the U.S.-based biotech firm to consider delivering the antiviral drug to Georgia.

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