Saudi Arabia and Russia in talks on new anti-COVID-19 treatment

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), the country’s sovereign wealth fund which has collaborated with the Kingdom on many investment projects, is set to unveil the new drug. (File/Shutterstock)
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Updated 31 May 2020

Saudi Arabia and Russia in talks on new anti-COVID-19 treatment

DUBAI: Russia has developed a promising new treatment for the coronavirus COVID-19 which it could soon trial in partnership with Saudi Arabian health experts.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), the country’s sovereign wealth fund which has collaborated with the Kingdom on many investment projects, is set to unveil the new drug, Avifavir, at a virtual press conference in Moscow today (Mon).

RDIF said that the drug, which “has shown high efficacy in treating patients with coronavirus during clinical trials,” had received a registration certificate from the Russian health ministry.

Kirill Dmitriev, the RDIF chief executive, told Arab News: “We are in talks with our Saudi partners about possible supplies of Avifavir to Saudi Arabia. We shared with them the positive results of clinical trials in Russia. Our partners expressed interest in starting a clinical trial of Avifavir in the Kingdom.”

Avifavir, which disrupts the reproduction mechanisms of coronavirus, is the first Russian direct antiviral drug that has proven effective in clinical trials. The drug has been well studied, since it has been used in Japan since 2014 against severe forms of influenza, RDIF said.

Dmitriev added: “Afivavir is not only the first antiviral drug registered against coronavirus in Russia, but it is also perhaps the most promising anti-COVID-19 drug in the world. It was developed and tested in clinical trials in Russia in an unprecedentedly short period of time enabling Afivavir to become the first registered drug based on Favipiravir in the world.”

Favipiravir is a drug that has proven effective in the treatment of infected patients in China and in clinical trials in Russia. Preparations are currently underway for the mass production of the drug.

Avifavir proved to be highly effective during the clinical trials involving I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University, Lomonosov Moscow State University and other medical and academic institutions, it added.

The final stage of trials on 330 patients is ongoing with the approval of the Russian ministry of health. It was developed by RDIF in partnership with Chemrar, a Russian pharmaceuticals research and development group.

RDIF has invested significant resources into anti-COVID measures since the outbreak of the pandemic, developing a high speed testing kit along with Japanese partners, as well other diagnostic and support systems.

It is believed to be working on a vaccine against the virus which could soon be unveiled, according to Moscow sources.


Saudi Arabia health care summit to accelerate global COVID-19 fight

Updated 03 August 2020

Saudi Arabia health care summit to accelerate global COVID-19 fight

  • Representatives from the World Health Organization, UK National Health Service, IBM and many other industry leaders to speak at online event.
  • The ‘Riyadh Declaration’ will provide a roadmap for using digital innovations to fight this pandemic and those of the future.

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will this month host one of the world’s largest health care summits that aims to unite global efforts against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The event will bring together health care leaders and innovators from across the world to foster new collaborations and discuss the vital role of digital health in fighting pandemics.

Taking place online on Aug. 11-12, the Riyadh Global Digital Health Summit (RGDHS) will host directors from the World Health Organization and the UK’s National Health Service, IBM’s chief health officer, and Australia’s deputy chief medical officer.

The event’s flagship talk will be hosted by the Kingdom’s Minister of Health Dr. Tawfig Al-Rabiah, and will introduce the “Riyadh Declaration” — a roadmap for accelerating digital health innovations to fight the current and future pandemics.

Dr. Bandar Al-Knawy, president of the RGDHS, said the event was far more than a health care conference.

“It is a global digital platform bringing together people who have the ability to work collaboratively to accelerate our response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

“Health care professionals must now seize this opportunity to build on previous strides forward in digital health.”