The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) granted permission for emergency use of an anti-COVID-19 oral drug developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) last week.
The drug will be in powder form, made available in a sachet, and is to be taken orally by dissolving it in water. The anti-COVID therapeutic application of the drug 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) has been developed by a DRDO lab – the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS) – in collaboration with Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL) in Hyderabad.
In a press release issued last Saturday, the Ministry of Defence said that the drug is “a generic molecule and analogue of glucose, it can be easily produced and made available in plenty in the country.” Its selective deposition in infected cells distinguishes this drug from the others, the release claimed.
The country’s key drugs controller approved the drug for emergency use after the clinical trial findings revealed that a molecule in the drug aids in quicker recovery of hospitalised patients and reduces their reliance on supplementary oxygen. In addition to this, the RT-PCR test conducted on patients who consumed the drug revealed a greater proportion testing negative for COVID-19.
The second phase of trials which were conducted last year between May and October, found the drug to be safe for COVID-19 patients and also showed significant improvement in their recovery. The second round had 110 patients. Although the third round of trials was held in six hospitals, dose-ranging was held in 11 hospitals throughout India.
As India battles the second wave of the pandemic and shortage of essential drugs, massive help from other countries has also been pouring in.
India, on Wednesday, reported loss of 4,205 lives in 24 hours due to coronavirus. This is the highest death count India has seen in a single day since the pandemic began in 2020. It is also the third time in the span of 10 days that India has officially recorded over 4,000 deaths in 24 hours. States have started imposing harsher lockdowns in a desperate bid to halt the devastating surge. The country also reported over 3.48 lakh new infections, taking the overall number to 2.33 crores.