NEW DELHI, April 30 (Xinhua) -- India's federal government has ordered 450,000 vials of Remdesivir from abroad to address a shortage of the antiviral drug in the Asian country amid a COVID-19 resurgence, with the first consignment to arrive as early as Friday.
The Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers on Friday said in a statement "The first consignment of 75,000 vials will reach India today."
"HLL Lifecare Ltd, a government of India owned company, has ordered 450,000 vials of Remdesivir" from the US biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences and the Egyptian company Eva Pharma, it said.
It is expected that Gilead Sciences will dispatch 75,000 to 100,000 vials in the next one or two days, said the ministry, adding that an additional 100,000 vials will be supplied by May 15.
"EVA pharma will supply approximately 10,000 vials initially," the ministry said.
Officials said the Indian government has ramped up the production of Remdesivir in the country, with the production capacity of the seven licensed domestic manufacturers rising from 3.8 million vials per month to over 10 million vials per month.
During the period from April 21 to 28, a total of 1.37 million vials of Remdesivir were supplied across India.
The federal government has also banned the export of Remdesivir.
Officials said Remdesivir has been listed as an investigational therapy for restricted emergency use on COVID-19 patients.
India is suffering a resurgence in COVID-19 cases and the second wave of the pandemic has caused a shortage of medical oxygen supply and essential medicines in its hospitals.
The federal health ministry on Friday morning reported 386,452 new cases of COVID-19 and 3,498 new deaths in India, bringing the country's total tally to 18,762,976 with 208,330 deaths.