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State orders 400 doses of coronavirus medicine

Coronavirus testing (picture is illustrative)
Coronavirus testing (picture is illustrative) Source: ERR

Based on the Health Board's (Terviseamet) forecast, the second wave of coronavirus can happen in the autumn. Estonia needs about 400 doses of an antiviral drug called remdesivir. This quantity has been ordered to Estonia within joint European Union procurement.

Andras Banyasz, the chief specialist of Emergency Medicine of Health Board, told ERR: "There are about 400 patients who need remdesivir drug during the second wave of coronavirus. The number of people who are in need of that drug has increased a bit – more than during the spring – but the probable, final number of patients is announced in the autumn." 

Based on the Health Board's data, about 20 patients can get the antiviral drug. 

Banyasz said that the European Commission is creating a joint procurement to buy the medicine and Estonia has asked for its amount from the authority.  

"If the tender is successful, we can get our quantity from there. The hospitals will ask their own amount by themselves. We are not sure about how much the purchase will cost us because the tender has not yet ended. The probable price will be quite good as the European Commission will obtain a huge amount of remidesivir for many countries," Banyasz added. 

In Estonia, the currently used remdesivir has been delivered for free. 
The European Commission approved using remdesivir as a new coronavirus vaccine on Friday. Permission to use it was given less than a month after requesting to use that drug. The U.S. authorized the use of remdesivir on May 1, but it was originally intended for the treatment of Ebola. The medicine has now been adopted by several Asian countries, such as Japan and South Korea. 

Alar Irs, the medical adviser of State Agency of Medicines (Ravimiamet), said that it is not a miracle drug but based on the research conducted in the U.S., the use of drug shortens the patient's time in the hospital. 

"The medicine managed to reduce the length of hospital stay from 15 days to 11. Patients with mild symptoms did get not any benefit from the vaccine, so did not the ones who were already in the intensive care unit and under the machine breathing or artificial circulation," Irs admitted. 

Based on the agency of medicines' information, the vaccine line needs time to develop as there is not that much information about the data of what are the actual benefits of the drug.

"It takes time to create the vaccine line. First, scientists have not confirmed and agreed on how does natural immunity suffers and comes out of the virus. In addition to that, they have no idea how persistent it is. If the results show that immunity is non-persistent, then it is important to investigate how long the vaccine can create an immune response." 


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Editor: Katriin Eikin Sein

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