Hope as Kenya to try corona drug on patients

Kenya will start testing the only-approved Covid-19 drug on patients in the coming days.

The drug, known as remdesivir, costs Sh253,000 per treatment.

Dr Loice Achieng Ombajo, the head of infectious diseases unit at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), said a World Health Organisation (WHO) sponsored study on remdesivir will not be testing chloroquine, or the HIV drugs – lopinavir and ritonavir – as had been proposed earlier.

Dr Achieng, the study principal investigator, was addressing doctors from all over the country in a webinar organised by KNH to share experiences in treating Covid-19 patients.

The study, approved earlier this month, will be carried out at the Coast General Hospital, KNH, Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi Hospital, Kilifi Kemri-Wellcome, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, and Kenyatta University Hospital.

Remdesivir, an injectable manufactured by the Gilead Sciences of United States, is the only drug authorised for treatment of Covid-19 patients by the US Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency. Initially, the drug had been developed for the treatment of Ebola.

Preliminary data from various clinical studies have shown the drug to reduce hospitalisation period in some Covid-19 patients by about four days.

In the US, the manufacturer has tagged the price of remdesivir, which is in short supply, at $2,340 (about Sh 253,000) for a full treatment.

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