Hetero Healthcare has larger plans for the personal protective equipment (PPE) segment. And, its recent launch of “self-sanitising” masks marks its entry into this preventive category whose relevance will extend beyond Covid-19, says its Managing Director M Srinivas Reddy.
The plan is to have an ensemble that is more comfortable, even as it protects against bacteria and viruses, Reddy told BusinessLine. On the protective wear for medical professionals that is expected to be ready in about 90 days, he said: “We have researched this for several months and came out with a product that has the ability to breathe, is light and is not burdensome for the doctors.”
Hetero Healthcare is the domestic marketing arm of the Hetero Group. “We need to live with masks for another year, possibly before the situation stabilises,” he said, adding that the company’s DEFEND99 masks resulted from a technology collaboration with Azista Industries that is into research. The mask is made of a special material, is washable up to 30 times and is priced at ₹125 a piece and costs ₹299 for a pack of three.
The Hetero group makes multiple products used to tackle Covid-19, from antivirals Remdesivir and Favipiravir to Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.
Shortage of Remdesivir
Commenting on the Remdesivir shortage witnessed in the market some months ago, he explained that such a situation arose because no one had an accurate prediction of the requirement. Few States use the RT-PCR test for Covid-19, considered the gold standard. Others use antigen tests that show false negatives, and hence, an accurate projection of requirement was not available, he explained.
Besides, the injectable also has a short shelf-life, and hence cannot be stored in large quantities for long. To prevent a repeat of such a situation, he said the company now keeps a buffer inventory of the active ingredient and the finished form to cater to any sudden increase in requirement.
Recently, the World Health Organization said that trials had shown Remdesivir to be not effective in preventing mortality. Reddy contended that the product was anyway given in mild and moderate cases, before the patient became serious. And, so there was still a need for it.