Zydus Cadila, on Friday, received approval for the restricted emergency use of the antiviral drug Virafin for the treatment of moderate COVID-19 patients from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI).
“A single dose subcutaneous regimen of the antiviral drug will make treatment of COVID-19 disease more convenient. When administered early on during COVID, Virafin will help patients recover faster and avoid much of the complications. Virafin will be available on the prescription of a medical specialist for use in hospital/ institutional setup,” the company said in its regulatory filing.
The company found that the drug reduced the supplemental need for oxygen in the multi-centre clinical trials conducted across 20-25 centres in India. This indicates that the drug was able to control respiratory distress and failure which has been one of the major challenges in treating COVID-19.
“The drug has also proven to be effective against other viral infections. In its Phase III clinical trials, the therapy had shown better clinical improvement in the patients suffering from COVID-19. During the trials, a higher proportion of patients administered with PegIFN arm were RT PCR negative by day 7. The drug ensures faster viral clearance and has several add-on advantages compared to other anti-viral agents,” the company added.
Speaking on the development, Dr Sharvil Patel, Managing Director, Cadila Healthcare Limited said, “The fact that we are able to offer a therapy which significantly reduces the viral load when given early on can help in better disease management. It comes at a much-needed time for patients and we will continue to provide them access to critical therapies in this battle against COVID-19.”
Soon after the announcement, Cadila Healthcare’s share price moved from Rs 503.5 to Rs 576.5 in the last 1 week.
The development and the nod from DGCI come at a time when India is combating the second wave of coronavirus. The central government in one of its major announcements decided to administer COVID-19 vaccines to all age above 18 years.
India recorded over 3.23 lakh new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, the highest single-day spike since the pandemic broke out last year. This has taken the cumulative count of the COVID infection in the country to 1,76,36,307. The country has recorded 2,771 new deaths due to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours. There are 28,82,204 active COVID-19 cases in the country now.