A local Pakistani company will manufacture Remdesivir, an international drug being used to treat coronavirus patients, in less than two months, announced Dr Zafar Mirza on Friday.

“American company Gilead has manufactured this drug and it has proven effective in treating coronavirus patients,” he said during a press conference. “It is said that the use of the drug has reduced the intensity of the virus by 30%.”

Dr Mirza said that five companies in the world had been granted the license to manufacture the drug. “Among the five companies [granted the license to manufacture the drug] one of them is a Pakistani company,” he said, referring to it as a “breakthrough news”.

He said that the medicine will be available for COVID-19 patients in Pakistan after it is registered within six to eight weeks and manufactured in the country.

“It will not only be available for patients in Pakistan but the plan is to export this drug to 127 countries,” he said. “Pakistan will be among three countries in the world to produce and export this to 127 countries. This is a big breakthrough and this is big news for coronavirus patients in Pakistan, who are increasing by the day and are expected to increase more.”

Ferozsons Laboratories Limited CEO Osman Khalid Waheed said that it would be the company’s aim to sell the drug at the least cost.

Adviser to the Prime Minister for Commerce, Textile and Investment Abdul Razzak Dawood said that it was a proud moment for Pakistan and the country’s pharmaceutical industry that a Pakistani company had been made the licensee of the coronavirus drug.

He said that it was the government’s aim to diversify exports and that included pharmaceuticals. “It is not only good news for the people of Pakistan but for countries around the world,” he said.