Feature: Egyptian pharmaceutical firm produces antiviral Remdesivir to distribute in 127 countries

Source:Xinhua Published: 2020/7/3 11:26:52

A staff member works in a lab of Eva Pharma drugmaker in Giza Province, Egypt, on July 2, 2020. (Xinhua/Ahmed Gomaa)

In white coats and face masks, dozens of chemists have been confined in their labs while working at Eva Pharma drugmaker in Egypt's Giza Province near the capital Cairo to produce Remdesivir drug used in the COVID-19 treatment.

The Egyptian leading pharmaceutical firm reached in mid-June a landmark agreement with the U.S. drugmaker Gilead Sciences Inc. to be licensed for manufacturing Remdesivir and distributing it in 126 countries besides Egypt.

Osama Adel, manager of Eva Pharma's factory, said the current production capacity is about 16,000 vials per day and nearly half a million vials per month.

"Egyptian coronavirus patients will be the first in Africa and the Middle East to be treated with Remdesivir and we're licensed by Gilead to export the drug to 126 countries after meeting the needs of the local market," the manager told Xinhua at the factory.

Adel explained that the drug production is currently distributed in public and private isolation hospitals in Egypt for COVID-19 critical cases in intensive care units, but it is not available at pharmacies.

Egypt has so far confirmed 69,814 coronavirus cases, including 3,034 deaths and 18,881 recoveries.

International studies proved that Remdesivir highly improves the cure rate of COVID-19 patients, reduces the death rate and saves 30 percent of medical treatment time.

"We are proud to contribute to curing COVID-19 patients in Egypt, especially those severe cases," said Mina Ghattas, a senior production specialist at Eva Pharma.

"We have eagerly been waiting for our production of Remdesivir. We have produced three batches so far and we are going on nonstop," he added.

Located near the Pyramids of Giza, Eva Pharma's large five-floor facility includes several corridors and labs, as well as pilot and final production lines.

A group of pharmacists have been working on the production of the drug effective material at their lab which will be later taken to a highly isolated and sterilized manufacturing cleanroom.

"We have been working on the production of Remdesivir effective material for a while until we have successfully made it with a 99-percent purity rate," said Youhana Hosny, a pharmacist at the factory's research and development department.

"We started with the production of little quantities of effective material but we're planning to gradually increase the production," he noted.

Hosny expects a high demand for Eva Pharma's Remdesivir effective material in the near future not only in Egypt but worldwide, adding Eva Pharma plans to establish a special unit at one of its factories for the production of effective material.

As one of the fastest growing pharmaceutical companies in the Middle East region with partnerships in 41 states, Eva Pharma boasts of a 3,000-member strong team of pharmaceutical professionals that produce about 350,000 packs of over 140 different drugs daily.

Ahmed Ellewa, Eva Pharma's public relations manager, said the research facility has more than 100 professional chemists, noting they have been doing researches on the production of Remdesivir since March.

The voluntary license agreement provides Eva Pharma with Gilead's technology and manufacturing process descriptions, specifications and methods to boost the production timeline of Remdesivir.

"After Gilead's license, we have recently got the approval of the Egyptian Health Ministry to produce and distribute the drug," the public relations manager told Xinhua.

Eva Pharma has also started producing another antiviral drug, Favipiravir, originally manufactured by a Japanese firm under another brand name, for mild and moderate COVID-19 cases and it will be on the market soon.

Posted in: AFRICA

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