The deadly second wave of COVID-19 in India has lent a renewed incentive to strive for cures and drugs to fight the viral disease. Now, in the midst of this horrific pandemic, the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS), a lab of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in collaboration with Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL), has developed a drug that can help in the treatment of COVID-19 patients. The first batch of this anti-Covid drug, named 2-DG (2-deoxy-D-glucose) has been launched today by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Health Minister Harsh Vardhan today. At an event to mark the ocassion, Rajnath Singh handed over the drug to his colleague Harsh Vardhan, who, in turn, handed over it to Delhi All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) director Dr Randeep Guleria. Sources say that the medicine comes in powder form and can be taken with water.

10,000 doses earmarked for Delhi

According to sources, the Defence Minister will distribute around 10,000 doses of the drug to a few hospitals in New Delhi. The pandemic has hit the national capital hard and patients will benefit greatly from this drug.

Faster recover, less need for supplemental oxygen

This drug was approved for emergency use last week. The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) gave the approval after reviewing trial data. Experts are of the view that this drug can turn out to be a game-changer in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. It helps in faster recovery of hospitalised patients and also reduces oxygen dependence. According to data of clinical trials, this drug can facilitate faster recovery of hospitalised patients and, at the same time, bring down the need for supplemental oxygen. Trials also showed that a higher proportion of patients, who were treated with 2-DG, showed RT-PCR negative conversion in Covid patients.

Safe and effective

Phase 2 trials show that this drug is safe for COVID-19 patients. These trials were held between May and October 2020. It also cuts down hospital stays of Covid patients. INMAS-DRDO scientists conducted laboratory experiments along with the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, during the first wave of the pandemic in April last year. The researchers found that this molecule works effectively against SARS-CoV-2 virus and inhibits the viral growth. Based on these results, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) permitted Phase-II clinical trial of 2- DG in Covid-19 patients in May 2020. The DRDO, with industry partner DRL, Hyderabad, started the trials to test the safety and efficacy of the drug in Covid-19 patients.

The Phase-II trials (including dose ranging) of this drug was conducted last year in May-October. The results ahowed that this drug is safe for COVID-19 patients, who also exhibited marked improvement after taking the dose. These trials were conducted in six hospitals. Phase IIb (dose ranging) clinical trial was help at 11 hospitals spread out over the country on 110 patients.

This post first appeared on The Health Site

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