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  • COVID-19 patient being treated in a hospital, Moscow, Russia, May 23, 2020.

    COVID-19 patient being treated in a hospital, Moscow, Russia, May 23, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @mog7546

Published 6 June 2020
Opinion

It helps to avoid the cytokine storm that the new coronavirus causes in severe cases.

Russia's Health Ministry Saturday reported that the biotech company BIOCAD has registered a second local drug to treat COVID-19.

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The new preparation Levilimab, which will be marketed under the name ILSIRA, is an inhibitor of the interleukin-6 glycoprotein and allows it to contain the body's immune response and avoid the cytokine storm that the new coronavirus causes in severe cases.

"The drug is recommended to treat seriously ill patients, when the so-called cytokine storm develops, the exaggerated inflammation due to the coronavirus that damages tissues and organs, particularly lung tissue," the Health Ministry stated.

Initially developed to treat rheumatic arthritis, the ILSIRA was registered through a rapid procedure, which is a procedure contemplated for emergencies.

"We will control the complications caused by COVID-19 and minimize serious sequelae," BIOCAD CEO Dmitri Morozov said.

On May 31, the Russian Health Ministry registered the first antiviral drug to treat COVID-19, Afivavir, which was highly effective during clinical trials.

Avifavir, developed by the Russian Direct Investment Fund in partnership with ChemRar Group, "will be available to hospitals from June 11," the Finacial News Herald reported.

So far, Russia has accumulated 458,698 COVID-19 cases and 5,725 deaths. Moscow, a 12-million-inhabitants city, is the main source of infection in the country, with 193,061 COVID-19 confirmed cases and 2,864 deaths.

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