The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Friday revised the prescribed dosage of anti-viral drug remdesivir for coronavirus patients from six days to five.

The patients must be injected with 200 milligram of remdesivir on day one and 100 milligram for the next four days, the Union health ministry said in an updated version of its Clinical Management Protocol for the coronavirus. The health ministry had on June 13 allowed the use of remdesivir for “restricted emergency use” in moderate coronavirus cases.

Hyderabad-based drugmaker Hetero has the approval to manufacture remdesivir for the treatment of coronavirus patients. Last month, the company had said that it will deliver the first set of the medicine to Maharashtra, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat at price of Rs 5,400 per vial.

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Remdesivir has been proven to be effective against the coronavirus in human trials. It has been developed by American biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences. South Korea, Japan and the United States have also approved the drug for emergency use. The drug is, however, not recommended for people with renal defects, pregnant and lactating women and children below the age of 12.

Countries across the world are also racing to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus. On Thursday, the Indian Council of Medical Research directed clinical trial sites of Covaxin – India’s first coronavirus vaccine candidate – to fast-track approvals and said that it planned to launch the vaccine for public use by August 15. Gujarat-based pharmaceutical company Zydus Cadila has also received approval to start human trials of its coronavirus vaccine.

No coronavirus vaccine has been approved yet for use anywhere in the world. The World Health Organization had said last month that United Kingdom-based pharma firm AstraZeneca’s experimental vaccine was probably the leading candidate.

India reported a record 22,771 new cases on Saturday, taking the overall tally to 6,48,315. The country’s toll rose to 18,655 with 442 new fatalities. As many as 3,94,226 people have recovered so far.

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