DUBAI, Arab Emirates, January 24, 2022 (Newswire.com) - Cellvera, a global biopharmaceutical company developing and commercializing innovative antiviral therapies, and the Global Response Aid today announced a supply of millions of its COVID-19 oral antiviral Avigan® to Malaysia in the coming weeks. Cellvera holds directly, or through its affiliates worldwide (excluding Japan), exclusive rights to Avigan® and all strengths and formulations of Favipiravir. This broad-spectrum oral antiviral drug targets COVID-19 and 11 other infectious diseases. Favipiravir works by inhibiting a viral enzyme called RNA polymerase, preventing viral replication within human cells. This viral enzyme is common to several viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.
Regulators authorized Avigan® in several markets to treat COVID-19 and/or influenza, including Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Mexico, and India.
Several other countries purchase it on a compassionate patient basis, including the United Kingdom, Greece, Hungary, and Saudi Arabia. The governments of those countries continue to stockpile and have ordered a total of 80m tablets in the past 12 months.
Malaysia has recorded nearly 2.8 million cases of COVID-19 infections 31,000 deaths, the third-highest in Southeast Asia. Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin recently warned that daily caseloads could reach 30,000 by March if the Omicron variant is not managed. (1,2)
Dr. Alessandro Gadotti, CEO of Cellvera, said: "We are pleased that the Malaysian government recognizes Avigan® as an essential treatment option for COVID-19. The increasing number of patients being administered Avigan® worldwide puts us on the front line of the global fight against COVID-19 and future pandemic preparedness. Avigan® plays a key role in helping patients recover faster as well as in reducing the overload of the healthcare systems." Gadotti continued, "Since the beginning of the ongoing pandemic, we have worked tirelessly to deliver solutions and to support the healthcare systems globally to contain and eventually end the spread of COVID-19 and this order is another milestone in our efforts to achieve that. The government health authorities invest in Avigan® as they understand the need of having an arsenal of different treatment options for diversified patient populations. Thus, we will continue ramping up supply of Avigan® to ensure all patients have the equal chance of quick recovery."
Commenting on the announcement, Dato Zulkifli Amin, Founder and Group Managing Director of Restu AG, one of the leading Malaysian investment companies, "We recognize with Omicron's far greater transmissibility, when patients are hospitalized with COVID-19, we've already lost half the battle. We have been working with the Cellvera team to bring Avigan® to Malaysia to meet the patient and market demand for an effective COVID-19 treatment. Bringing this drug to the local market has never been more vital given the current and potential future surges of COVID-19. We are committed to the task of coordinating the supply of millions of courses of treatment to the Malaysian government and private sector in the coming weeks."