Russia is in the cusp of developing the world's first antiviral drug to treat the coronavirus infection, state news agency TASS reported. Scientists working on the drug informed Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin that the new drug has proven to be "more than 99% effective" in treating Covid-19.

Veronika Skvortsova, the head of the Federal Medical and Biological Agency (FMBA), said the team is positive about starting clinical trials of the direct acting medicine against Covid-19 even before the New Year.

Russia Coronavirus Vaccine
Russia Coronavirus Vaccine YouTube Grab/Sputnik

"The first preparation is an etiotropic one, influencing the virus directly, effectively, this is an antidote to the coronavirus infection," the cientist said.

She added that pre-clinical trials of the drug have established the safety of this preparation. The drug "doesn't affect the human body and immunity" and has high effectiveness surpassing 99 percent, she told the prime minister. "Currently a dossier is prepared in order to obtain a permit for clinical trials. We hope to do this before the New Year," Skvortsova said.

"This is the first etiotropic drug that directly affects the virus. In fact, this is an antidote for coronavirus infection," she added.

Besides the anti-viral agent to treat Covid-19, Russian scientists are also working on a drug to treat 'hypercytokinemia'. This stage of the infection happens in the most complex coronavirus cases, wherein the infection causes a physiological reaction known as 'cytokine storm'. The new medicine in the works will prevent the onset of an immune response that leads to body tissue damage.

putin-calls-poisoned-ex-spy-skripal-a-traitor

According to the worldodometer tally, as many as 81.8 million people have been infected by the novel coronavirus world wide,, while the number of deaths stands at more than 1.7 million. The United States leads in the case tally. followed by India and Brazil. In Russia, the total number of confirmed infections has crossed the 3-million mark while the death toll stands at 55,827.

The world over, there are more than 50 COVID-19 vaccine candidates at various stages of trials even as vaccines from pioneers like Moderna, Oxford and Pfizer have been adopted for general use in various countries.