In an interview with news site Origo, Béla Merkely, the rector of Semmelweis University, talked about antiviral medication Remdesivir’s effectiveness on people hospitalized with COVID-19, and said that the medical trials of the first coronavirus vaccine would conclude in November and vaccination could begin as soon as December.
Talking about Remdesivir, Merkely told Origo that while the WHO finds the drug only moderately effective against the novel coronavirus, the experience of Hungarian doctors and the research that is currently taking place in Hungary suggest otherwise.
It is an antiviral drug that was originally developed against ebola, and according to Merkely it can reduce the symptoms of COVID patients in serious condition to a less severe one. The treatment of those with milder symptoms can be achieved with a Japanese-developed drug called Favipiravir, already available and produced in Hungary.
Merkely is also pleased that Richter Gedeon Inc. was able to produce enough Remdesivir for more than 2,000 patients, production of which is still ongoing.
Remdesivir is currently used in seven hospitals, but five more institutions are expected to be included in clinical trials, the rector said. Furthermore, Merkely mentioned that details about an ongoing clinical trial at Semmelweis University of a new drug that is specifically designed to protect the lungs would be revealed soon.
Phase III testing of the first vaccines will almost certainly be completed in November, he said, adding that vaccination would begin in Europe in December, requiring hundreds of millions of doses.
In the featured photo illustration: Béla Merkely. Photo by Tamás Kovács/MTI