Egypt's Eva Pharma begins producing two drugs used for Covid-19 treatment

Generic drug maker is producing Remdesvir and Favipiravir, both of which are used to treat the coronavirus

epa08508741 An employee wearing a full-face mask poses behind stacked boxes of the antiviral medication favipiravir at the laboratories of the Eva Pharma company in Cairo, Egypt, 25 June 2020. Favipiravir appears to have been proven effective in treating COVID-19 patients in Russia, while ongoing trials of the drug are taking place in Japan and other countries. In addition, the Egyptian drugmaker has reached a landmark deal with US company Gilead Sciences Inc. licensing the former to manufacture Gilead's antiviral drug remdesivir – another experimental treatment for patients suffering from the pandemic COVID-19 disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus – and distribute it in 127 countries.  EPA/MOHAMED HOSSAM
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Egypt's Eva Pharma said on Thursday it had begun producing Remdesivir and Favipiravir, two drugs used in the treatment of patients with Covid-19.

Remdesivir is indicated for moderate to severe cases of Covid-19 for patients in intensive care who require oxygen, while Favipiravir is indicated for mild to moderate cases.

Eva Pharma, a generic drugmaker established in 1997, said earlier this month it had received a licence from Gilead Sciences to make Remdesivir in Egypt and distribute it in 127 countries.

It will initially make 500,000 doses a month to be sold locally for less than 2,000 Egyptian pounds ($124.07, Dh455) each, said general manager Amgad Talaat, adding that they had already started delivering the medicine to quarantine hospitals.

It has also started producing 1 million Favipiravir tablets a month, which will be on the market within two-to-three weeks, Mr Talaat said. The price has still to be finalised.

Japan's Fujifilm Holdings, which makes Favipiravir under the brand name Avigan, said this month its research on the drug as a potential Covid-19 treatment may need to continue until July.

Eva Pharma said it had received permission from Egypt's pharmaceutical regulatory authority to produce the drugs, and the body would decided whether they could be sold in pharmacies or only used in hospitals.

Mr Talaat said that once Egyptian needs were met, Eva Pharma hoped to sell any excess doses to other Middle Eastern and African countries.

Egypt's Rameda Pharmaceutical also said this month it had begun making Favipiravir under the brand name Anviziram and had approval to manufacture Remedsivir.