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Nigeria Flies In COVID-19 Drug From Bangladesh

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Nigeria chartered a special flight between Abuja and Dhaka on Sunday to collect a small dose of the Bangladesh-produced anti-viral drug remdesivir in an effort to treat one of its officials suffering from Covid-19, officials in Dhaka said.

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Dpa International reported that the plane returned home nearly 20 minutes after landing at Bangladesh’s major airport in Dhaka in the evening carrying 36 vials of the drug and some medical protective gear made by Bangladeshi companies, Foreign Ministry spokesman Touhidul Islam said.

At least 342 people with the Covid-19 disease have died in the West African country, where 12,233 cases of novel coronavirus have been confirmed up to Sunday.

“The Nigerian government sent the chartered plane to collect the drug to treat one of its governors affected by coronavirus,” a Foreign Ministry statement said.

The arrangement was made following a phone conversation Saturday between Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama and his Bangladeshi counterpart Abul Kalam Abdul Momen, according to the statement.

Two Bangladeshi companies last month produced the first generic version of the remdesivir, which is currently being tested as a possible treatment for Covid-19, the potentially deadly disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The drug was developed and patented by Gilead Sciences in the US.

A Nigerian team collected 25 vials of the drug produced by Eskayef Pharmaceuticals Limited and 11 vials by Beximco Pharmaceuticals Limited, Kabir Ahmed Bhuiya, a businessman who supplied the drug and the equipment samples, said.

Nigeria is interested in importing the drug from Bangladesh subject to its efficacy, according to the Foreign Ministry statement.

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