Around 50,000 vials of Remdesivir, used in treating coronavirus patients, have been delivered from India to Vietnam as the first shipment of a deal between Vietnamese conglomerate Vingroup and an Indian supplier.
The drug batch, part of the donation that Vingroup has promised the Health Ministry, reached Tan Son Nhat International Airport on Thursday evening.
Remdesivir has to be sent to Vietnam in small shipments because of unfavorable transport conditions, said Vingroup, the largest private conglomerate in Vietnam.
This antiviral drug was manufactured by Cipla Limited, an Indian multinational pharmaceutical company, under a licensing agreement with U.S.-based Gilead Sciences, Inc.
Remdesivir has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat COVID-19 patients since October 2020.
With the ability to shorten treatment time and speed up recovery in critical patients, the drug has been included in the COVID-19 treatment regimens of 50 countries including the U.S., Australia, Japan, Singapore, and India.
Around 100,000 more vials are slated to arrive in Vietnam next week.
On August 2, Vingroup announced it would donate 500,000 vials of Remdesivir to the health ministry for treating COVID-19 patients.
All these vials will be delivered to Vietnam within this month, the conglomerate added.
At an online meeting held the same day, Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said the drug will be allocated for COVID-19 treatment facilities as soon as it arrives in Vietnam.
The drug is intended for moderate and severe patients under the ministry’s treatment protocol.
With 500,000 Remdesivir vials, the ministry can treat about 80,000 to 100,000 COVID-19 cases.
The country has previously used Remdesivir, which came from donations, at some COVID-19 treatment facilities and the preliminary results showed that this drug can quickly decrease virus counts in patients, the health ministry reported.
The ministry warns that people should not search for, hoard or arbitrarily use Remdesivir, as indications and dosages of this drug must be prescribed only by COVID-19 treating doctors.
Vietnam has documented 189,066 coronavirus infections, including 58,040 recoveries and 2,720 deaths, since early 2020, when the pandemic kicked off in the country, the ministry reported on Friday morning.
Out of the total count, as many as 185,162 domestic cases have been recorded since April 27, when the fourth COVID-19 wave erupted in Vietnam.
By Friday, the numbers of people getting the first and second vaccine doses have topped 7.24 million and 820,000, respectively, according to the health ministry's data.