MEXICO CITY. – A day after President Andrés Manuel López Obrador referred to an eventual communication with Russia about the drug Avifavir to combat covid-19, the director of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Kirill Dmitriev, confirmed the acquisition. of this drug by the Government of Mexico.
In an opinion piece, signed by Dmitriev, published in Newsweek magazine, titled What Russia Got Right About the Coronavirus and What it Can Share with the World, he indicated that Russia has cooperated with more than 15 funds from its international partners to advance and focus on three “readily available” solutions for the defeat of the covid-19 in 2020.
Avifavir has already been purchased by Belarus, Kazakhstan, Colombia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Peru and more than 50 countries have already submitted purchase requests, he explained.
He indicated that in Avifavir clinical trials they found that the effective dose against coronavirus should be higher than when the drug is used against influenza. In addition, he explained, they purified the substance to allow the dose increase to cause no side effects and applied for international patents for the discovered changes in the optimal dose and treatment protocols.
“In our clinical trials, which enrolled 330 patients, more than 60% of those taking Avifavir were negative for coronavirus on the fifth day of treatment, double that of the standard therapy group. The average virus clearance took 4 days with Avifavir, compared to 9 days with standard therapy, thus reducing the time patients are infectious and the length of their hospital stay, “she added.
In Russia, he said, three independent clinical trials were conducted, with more than 700 patients, and their findings were confirmed, “as are the results of tens of thousands of patients who have already received effective treatment with Avifavir in Russia,” he added.
So, he said, he shared his results with Fujifilm, a producer at Avigan, so they will cooperate with the Japanese to improve other clinical trials based on the Russian findings.
“We have already launched the international distribution of Avifavir and we have increased our production to 300,000 courses per month, to meet local and international demand,” he added.
After demonstrating the effectiveness of Avifavor, two equally effective drugs based on the same substance were registered in Russia. It is a Favipiravir-based product, which also received emergency approval in India and will eventually be registered in Turkey, according to the country’s Minister of Industry, he shared.
“In addition, Avifavir is available in tablet form, making it easier to administer to the public through pharmacies as prescription drugs,” he added.
These drugs, he indicated, will be key to shorten infection times and hospitalizations, since they target the coronavirus through a mechanism known as viral inhibition of RNA polymerase and also have more limited side effects.
Throughout this investigation, Dmitriev reported on the intervention of the RDFI, which is the country’s sovereign wealth fund, which has played a key role in the fight against covid-19 in Russia and has focused on the development of antiviral treatments available for prevent early or moderate coronavirus infections from developing into severe cases.
The main restriction is that Avifavir should not be taken by pregnant women or during pregnancy planning
The Russian case
Dmitriev noted that Russia is one of the world leaders in virus testing, in the production of efficient drugs, and is rapidly approaching the mass production of its own vaccine.
“We believe that there will be no magic solution; the virus will not simply go away. New outbreaks show that relaxation of social estrangement can lead to new waves of the virus. Meanwhile, the lengthy multi-year processes required for drug and vaccine testing will prevent further hypothetical advances from being available any time soon, “he said.
Therefore, he added, they should focus on the best existing solutions to rapidly expand them through international cooperation, which, he added, may seem like an obvious approach, however; “The hope for quick solutions, the lack of in-depth analysis and the growing mistrust between nations has prevented its adoption by many countries.”
Thus, he criticized that the hope of the disappearance of the virus quickly from the face of the earth has led several countries to relax the restriction measures too soon and companies to stop investing in biosafety.
This, in addition to the news reports on possible advances, have omitted to mention the risks involved or in the time necessary for regulatory approvals, they are a way of looking for a new magic ball that, in the end, has obscured the possibility of finding existing and proven solutions. to implement them quickly, he noted.
Because in countries like the United States it is expected that they will reach 100,000 daily cases of patients with covid-19, he considered it important to rapidly develop solutions focused on proven technologies and considered that RDIF has developed key elements of such a practical solution.
“Working in conjunction with some of the world’s leading institutional investors, we have selected and funded what we believe to be the most promising covid-19 systems, drugs and vaccines. Our assumptions, analyzes, and approaches can be helpful to others who are making critical decisions about how to fight the virus, ”he said.
The tests, useful to the economy
Dmitriev considered that rapid and accurate tests are key to opening economic because, he stressed, only through exhaustive tests can economic activity resume, including international travel. In that sense, he added, they have developed a Russian-Japanese test system under the EMG brand.
“Quick and accurate tests like ours will be essential to open up the world economy. They can greatly facilitate international air travel, for example. They will soon be used in airports around the world. Instead of spending 24 hours in a mandatory quarantine in Athens, travelers will soon, after a 30-minute wait, be able to go directly to the Greek islands, “he said.
It found that such a test provides results in 30 minutes, compared to the 2.5 hours required for many other tests. And these, he added, are just as accurate compared to the traditional PCR test system.
“We can give results faster, and our test reagents increase the performance capabilities of existing PCR test systems by three to four times. Our test system can be used not only in laboratories but anywhere, allowing quick and accurate testing in airports, offices, factories and before sporting and entertainment events, “he agreed.
This testing system has helped quickly locate and prevent potential outbreaks at many of Russia’s largest industrial companies, in offices and soccer competitions, he said.
“As expected, other countries have purchased more than 13 million of our tests; in fact, they represent more than a third of all tests conducted in the United States. ”
For Dmitriev this will be a solution to the economic crisis of international tourism, because according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD for its acronym in English), the world tourism industry will lose between 1.2 and 3.3 billion this 2020.
“More than 120 million jobs are at risk worldwide in the tourism industry alone, along with about 1.250 million indirect jobs that could also be lost,” he reported.
Currently, he said, Russia is carrying out pilot projects in three countries to create virus-free airport centers to reactivate tourism activity safely.
Currently, Dmitriev narrated, there are more than 140 vaccines in development. More than 20 of those vaccines are currently in different stages of clinical trials, he noted and warned: “No other vaccine has received regulatory approval faster than in 4 years.”
However, he commented, his analyzes show that Adenovirus-based vaccines will be the first to be marketed and await regulatory approval by September 2020. It is about introducing a coronavirus peak gene into a human body through a delivery mechanism. based on previously tested Adenovirus.
“Adenoviral vector-based vaccines have been developed since the 1980s. They have already received regulatory approval and have been used effectively against the Ebola virus with a high degree of safety. Vaccines against MERS, Zika, influenza, and malaria are undergoing successful clinical trials.
“There are also potential mRNAs (Messenger Ribonucleic Acid) and other innovative vaccines that we hope will work at some point. But while mRNA is a brilliant new technology, no RNA vaccine has received regulatory approval to be used to fight a virus, “he said.
However, he added, if an mRNA vaccine moves at a strain rate to obtain regulatory approval, it will not be possible until 2021, as extensive testing must be done, including ensuring that there is no negative impact on fertility, something key to nations planning to vaccinate a large part of their populations.
“There are three adenovirus vector-based vaccines that have already shown strong results in Phase 1 of clinical trials. These have been developed by the Gamaleya Institute of Russia, the Oxford University of England in association with AstraZeneca and CanSino Biologics d China. We believe that all three will be necessary, ”he commented.
In particular, Dmitriev is confident enough about Russia’s Gamaleya vaccine, which was injected and developed strong immunity in 20 days, even before the second booster shot that will hopefully extend immunity for two years.
By producing this vaccine through manufacturing partnerships in several countries, we will be able to increase production to 200 million doses by the end of the year.
“We estimate that in 2021 more than 3 billion doses of adenoviral vector-based vaccines will be produced, helping the world to effectively combat the coronavirus. The Russian vaccine will also come with a unique proprietary test that identifies the rise of highly specific human antibodies that attack the coronavirus spikes. Therefore, the effect of the vaccine and its duration will be easy to measure, measuring the increase in the most effective antibodies against the coronavirus, “she stressed.
A call to the world
From his perspective, it is time to stop the endless debates about the most effective ways to combat the coronavirus because “they are endangering lives, as well as the world economy.”
In his opinion, all the countries of the world must collectively establish best sanitary practices, including the mandatory use of mouth masks, maintain social distancing and share readily available solutions, before it is too late.
“Our fund is cooperating with many nations in this field. We believe that only through a fully cooperative global approach can this and future pandemics be successfully combated, ”added Dmitriev .
On July 10, Russia announced the marketing of Avifavir in Latin America to combat the new coronavirus, which was approved by the Russian Ministry of Health on May 29 and was presented as “the first drug for the treatment of covid-19 “