Levilimab is the second medication to receive state approval through a fast-track mechanism, implemented to give doctors more options to tackle the virus, which has already infected more than 459,000 and killed 5,725 in Russia, according to official statistics.
“I think we’ll be able to keep Covid-19 complications under control and minimize the harshest problems it causes,” Dmitry Morozov, general director of BIOCAD, the biopharmaceutical company behind the drug, wrote on Facebook.
By reducing the Covid-19 mortality rate, Levilimab will allow Russia to “buy time” before the vaccine against the coronavirus is made, and “the vaccine is surely coming soon,” he added.
The drug is aimed at curbing the so-called ‘cytokine storm,’ a common complication from Covid-19 when the sick person’s immune system overreacts to the virus and the excessive inflammation leads to fatal outcome.
“The mechanism [used in Levilimab] is known to researchers around the globe. But all the rest was done in Russia, by our company, from scratch. There’s an original patented molecule,” Morozov told RT.
Levilimab’s highlight is that it can be administered not only to patients already in a serious condition, but used as a prophylactic to “prevent the ‘cytokine storm’ from occurring and allowing the patient to avoid intensive care and lung ventilation,” he pointed out.
The drug, which will go into the market under the brand ILSIRA, is administered hypodermically unlike its foreign counterparts, which get into the system through the intravenous route.
“One shot and you don’t go into the emergency room. There are two syringes in a package. Their injected simultaneously or with some interval. And in a week the person is discharged from hospital,” Morozov said.
Levilimab has proven itself as effective as its foreign counterparts and increased the speed of recovery for patients, Ekaterina Trifonova, who heads the infectious ward at the Central Clinical Hospital in Moscow, where the drug underwent clinical testing, told RT. During the first two weeks of trials, out of 45 Covid-19 patients who got the drug, ten were discharged, including a 92-year-old-man, while the rest remained in satisfactory condition, she added.
Published June 7, 2020