by Okeri Ngutjinazo

Namibia received its first batch of remdesivir, an antiviral drug used in patients with severe Covid-19 symptoms, last week Monday.

Photo: Reuters

Remdesivir is an antiviral medication originally developed by US-based biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences to treat Ebola. Although the drug did not work well against that disease, it later showed promise fighting SARS and MERS (illnesses caused by coronaviruses) in animal and lab studies.

Health minister Kalumbi Shangula told The Namibian this morning that the government has received 1 000 ampoules of the drug and are still waiting for more. He noted that the drug can be used on patients with severe Covid-19 to improve recovery rate and lower the death rate.

Shangula said the ministry had put out a tender for the supply of the drug, and a company submitted the bid.

The investigational drug was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration in May for emergency use in hospitalised patients with severe Covid-19, however, this approval is only temporary.

The drug may reportedly be used in five-day or 10-day treatment durations, depending on the severity of the disease.

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