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Video: Black Market For Feline Version Of COVID-19 Drug Thrives In US
Black market for feline version of COVID-19 drug thrives in US
The cost of treating infectious peritonitis in cats with an unlicensed version of remdesivir (a drug used in humans to treat COVID-19) reaches $ 10,000.
Photo: CC0 Public Domain
The antiviral drug remdesivir from the pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences has already been approved and is being used to treat patients with severe COVID-19. However, there is another version of a drug called GS-441524 that purportedly treats feline infectious peritonitis, Business Insider reports. The disease is caused by a type of coronavirus from the same pathogen family as SARS-Cov-2. Although these viruses are genetically related, the infection does not cause COVID-19 in humans, but it is fatal to cats. Animals suffer from fever, weight loss and breathing difficulties and almost always die.
According to Business Insider, a whole black market has formed in the United States for unlicensed versions of GS, which are supplied to cat owners by pharmaceutical companies from China. The cost of one treatment course reaches $ 10,000. The demand for feline remdesivir came after the veterinary science expert at the University of California at Davis, Professor Emeritus Niels Pedersen, tested the drug on cats. As part of his study, the scientist gave doses of GS 31 to cats with FIP, of which 25 survived and recovered. But since his experiment did not have a control group of sick animals to compare mortality without remdesivir, Pedersen's paper was not accepted in a peer-reviewed veterinary journal. However, information about him got into the network, after which the owners of sick cats began to look for this drug.
Thousands of Americans are now uniting in closed Facebook communities, where they exchange contacts of Chinese suppliers and share reviews, including highly questionable ones. Since the US Food and Drugs Administration bans the sale of unlicensed drugs in the US, enterprising traders ship it to cat owners under the guise of a human dietary supplement.
Oksana Pyzik, a senior lecturer at the School of Pharmacy at University College London, an expert in the illegal drug market, believes feline remdesivir can be dangerous to animals.
“Any medicine that has not been properly tested for quality can be unsafe. We do not know anything about how this preparation is purified and whether it contains the declared active pharmaceutical substances,”the expert emphasized.
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