Personal physician to the prime minister, ABM Abdullah, addresses scientific seminar on remdesivir
Personal physician to the prime minister, ABM Abdullah, addresses scientific seminar on remdesivirHasan Raja

The remdesivir injection manufactured by Eskayef, a leading pharmaceutical company of the country, is a ray of hope for coronavirus patients. Eskayef Pharmaceuticals Ltd began the manufacture of the remdesivir very soon after the drug was approved in the US for the treatment of coronavirus patients. This has placed a weapon in the hands of physicians to fight the virus. The sooner permission is provided for the marketing of the drug, the quicker it will have results. Eskayef is to market the drug under the name of Remivir.

Eminent physicians of the country made these observations at a scientific seminar regarding remdesivir, organised on Sunday at Westin Hotel in Gulshan of the capital city. The programme was jointly organised by the Bangladesh Society of Medicine (BSM) and Eskayef.

Speaking at the seminar, personal physician to the prime minister, ABM Abdullah, said, “Remdesivir has brought a ray of hope to the coronavirus patients and to the fight against the virus.” He thanked Eskayef for going into production of the drug in such a short time. He said the sooner the drug came to the market, the better. It would give hope to both the patients and the physicians. “Many people have been calling me up me when they heard that Eskayef has manufactured the drug,” he said, adding, “When the US gave approval for the drug, I had thought it would take 6 months for it to come to Bangladesh. But it hasn’t taken long at all.”

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The seminar was moderated jointly by BSM secretary general Ahmedul Kabir and director of Eskayef’s marketing and sales department, Mujahidul Islam. It was said at the seminar that Eskayef had completed all required procedures and had deposited a sample of the drug with the drug administration directorate for approval to market the product.

A documentary screened at the programme showed Remivir being manufactured at Eskayef’s plant in the Faraaz Ayaaz Hossain building. The plant was equipped with high-tech machinery and a top quality control system. The plant has been approved by several international standards control institutions.

In the key presentation, professor of Dhaka Medical College’s medicine department, Robed Amin, gave a scientific explanation on how the virus came to the country, spread among the people and caused deaths.

Robed Amin said, there is no specific drug or vaccine against coronavirus, which has spread as a pandemic around the world. Scientists in various countries of the world were still working in several drugs in this regard.

Medicine specialist FM Siddiqui said that it is unbelievable how soon this drug was being manufactured in Bangladesh so soon after it was approved of in the US.

Drugs used for malaria, pneumonia and even HIV have been used on coronavirus patients. It is now being seen that microscopic droplets from coughs and sneezes can float in the air and so even social distancing may not be enough to be safe from the virus. It is essential to have a vaccine or drug against the virus.

He said the US recently approved of remdesivir and it is being used. It has also been approved of in Japan.

Professor of Dhaka Medical College, Abul Kalam Azad, said, “The battle against coronavirus is being fought without any weapons. Perhaps there is no weapon so far, but we will certainly be able to come up with an antidote. We are going ahead. We have collected necessary data.” He thanked Eskayef and said everyone must come forward to save lives.

Simeen Hossain praised the government and the leadership of prime minister Sheikh Hasina for protecting the people. She said because of various measures taken by the government, Bangladesh was in a relatively good position in tackling coronavirus compared with many developed countries.

Medicine specialist FM Siddiqui said there was no specific drug for coronavirus as yet, but remdesivir sped up recovery of patients under treatment. However, there was no definite evidence that this would reduce the death rate. Even so, he contented, remdesivir was important and was effective against the virus. He said, “My advice would be for the national technical advisory committee formed for coronavirus to look into the use the drug on patients who were going to hospital and being administered oxygen, and collect data in this regard.” Thanking Eskayef, he said that it is unbelievable how soon this drug was being manufactured in Bangladesh so soon after it was approved of in the US.

BSM president Billal Ahmed thanked Eskayef on behalf of the 97,000 physicians of Bangladesh.

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Managing director and chief executive of Eskayef, Simeen Hossain, said that the physicians and health workers were at the front line as protectors of the nation in this time of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Simeen Hossain said, Remivir has been manufactured in keeping with all protocol. She said that the suppliers had assured them of an unobstructed supply of the raw materials required to manufacture the drug. She praised the government of Bangladesh and the leadership of prime minister Sheikh Hasina for protecting the people of the country. She said because of various measures taken by the government, Bangladesh was in a relatively good position in tackling coronavirus compared with many developed countries.

Also speaking on the occasion were Dilip Kumar Dhar, Abdur Jalil and others.