Hyderabad-based drugmaker, Hetero, which has the approval to manufacture Gilead’s antiviral drug remdesivir for the treatment of severely ill coronavirus patients, on Wednesday said it will deliver the first set to five states at a maximum retail price of Rs 5,400 per vial, PTI reported.

The company will send the first set of 20,000 vials in two equal lots of 10,000 each to Maharashtra, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Hyderabad, Hetero Healthcare said in a statement. The other consignment will be supplied to Kolkata, Indore, Bhopal, Lucknow, Patna, Bhubaneshwar, Ranchi, Vijayawada, Cochin, Trivandrum and Goa within a week, it added.

Maharashtra, Delhi and Tamil Nadu are among the worst-affected states in India due to the pandemic.

Remdesivir is the first drug said to have shown to be effective against the coronavirus in human trials. However, there are no proven cures for the coronavirus yet. South Korea, Japan and the United States have also approved the drug for emergency use.

Hetero said it has priced its generic version of remdesivir at Rs 5,400 per 100-milligram vial. “The launch of Covifor in India is a significant milestone for all of us,” the company’s Managing Director M Srinivasa Reddy said. “Through Covifor, we hope to reduce the treatment time of a patient in a hospital, thereby reducing the increasing pressure on the medical infrastructure, overburdened currently due to accelerating coronavirus cases.”

Remdesivir needs to be administered intravenously in a hospital, critical care setting, under the supervision of a registered medical practitioner, the company’s statement said.

On Tuesday, pharma major Cipla, which also has licensing agreements with US-based Gilead Sciences Inc, said that its own version of the antiviral drug remdesivir would be priced below Rs 5,000 in India.

India, the fourth worst-hit nation, has so far reported a total of 4,73,105 infections and 14,894 deaths on Thursday.