Indian pharmaceutical firm Hetero announced on Sunday that it has received approval from the Drug Controller General of India to both manufacture and market the experimental antiviral drug remdesivir, to treat coronavirus patients, the Hindustan Times reported. In May, the company had announced that the drug will be manufactured at its Food and Drug Administration-approved facility in Hyderabad.

Hetero’s generic version of Remdesivir will be sold under the brand name Covifor in India. “In the light of increasing Covid-19 cases in India, the approval of Covifor can prove to be a game-changer given its positive clinical outcomes,” Hetero Group of Companies Chairperson B Partha Saradhi Reddy said. “Backed by strong backward integration capabilities, we can ensure that the product is immediately made available to patients across the country.”

Covifor will be available in 100 mg vials that will have to be injected into the patient at a hospital facility under the proper supervision of a doctor or trained healthcare worker. The drug will be launched in India under a licencing agreement with Gilead Sciences Inc, an American biopharmaceutical firm, to expand access to Covid-19 medication in poor countries.

“We are prepared to ensure supply of enough stocks required to cater to the present need,” Reddy said. “We will continue to work closely with the government and medical community to make a difference in the fight against Covid-19. This product is made indigenously in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India campaign.”

Another Indian pharmaceutical firm, Jubilant Life Sciences, has also signed the licencing agreement with Gilead Sciences Inc for selling remdesivir in 127 countries, including India.

India has the fourth highest number of coronavirus cases in the world. As of Sunday evening, the country had reported 4,10,461 cases and 13,254 deaths, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

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