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HomeGeopoliticsIndia's military researchers have come up with an anti-COVID drug

India’s military researchers have come up with an anti-COVID drug

The anti-COVID-19 drug, 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) has finally received green signal for its Emergency-use by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI).

This medicine, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) was originally a potential cancer drug. However, it has been repurposed as an anti-COVID-19 drug by the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS) lab of DRDO, and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL), Hyderabad.

On Saturday, the Ministry of Defence released a statement, saying that according to the order, this drug has to be used as a supplement in the treatment of moderate to severe COVID-19 patients. It can be easily generated and provided all over the country due to its analogue of glucose and generic molecular structure.

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It added, “It’s selective accumulation in virally infected cells makes this drug unique. Higher proportion of patients treated with 2-DG showed RT-PCR negative conversion in Covid-19 patients.”

This drug is available in powder form, comes in a sachet and has to be taken orally by dissolving in water. It accumulates in the virus-infected cells and averts virus-multiplication by hindering viral synthesis and energy production.

As per the INMAS-DRDO, the drug proved to be helpful in the results of clinical trials, as the molecule enhanced the recovery rate of hospitalised patients and reduced their dependence on supplemental oxygen.

It added, “In the ongoing 2nd wave of the pandemic, a large number of patients are facing severe oxygen dependency and need hospitalization. This drug is expected to save precious lives due to the mechanism of operation of the drug in infected cells. As it reduces the hospital stay of Covid-19 patients, it will also help reduce the burden on the country’s health infrastructure.”

The country is hopeful that this drug would serve as a boon to save people in these tough times. “The drug will be of immense benefit to the people suffering from COVID-19,” said the DRDO.

Research and trials of Anti-COVID drug:

DRDO’s research to repurpose and develop an anti-COVID drug was started in April 2020. 

With the help of Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad,

the INMAS-DRDO researchers had conducted lab experiments to examine the effectiveness of this drug. Hopefully, their study concluded that this drug is effective against the Novel-Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and hinders viral-multiplication.

In May 2020, the DCGI had granted permission for Phase-II clinical trials of 2-DG in COVID-19 patients. As per the instructions, the DRDO in collaboration with DRL, Hyderabad, had begun the safety testing and efficacy (which is a part of clinical trials procedure) of this drug in COVID patients.

During Phase-II trials between May-October 2020 (involving drug-ranging), it was found out that the drug was safe to be used in COVID-19 patients and had shown faster recovery. The second-phase of clinical trials which was conducted on 110 patients, was divided into two parts Phase-IIa and Phase-IIb. There were six hospitals under Phase-IIa and 11 hospitals all over the country in Phase-IIb (dose-ranging).

When it comes to efficacy, it was observed that the patients who were treated with 2-DG showed faster symptomatic cure than Standard of Care (SoC) on various endpoints. When compared to SoC, a 2.5 day difference was noted in terms of the median time to attaining normalisation of specific vital signs parameters.

The successful results of second-phase clinical trials, lead to the approval of Phase-III clinical trials by the DCGI in November 2020. During December 2020-March 2021, these trials were done on 220 patients at 27 COVID-19 hospitals in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

The complete details of these trials were presented to the DCGI. This data revealed higher symptomatic recovery in patients and reduced their dependence on supplemental oxygen. When compared to SoC (31% versus 42% by Day 3), it was an early relief from oxygen dependence. Some similar trends were noted in patients above 65 years of age.

India has recorded 3,66,161 new COVID-19 cases and 3754 deaths in the last 24 hours. Now the total number of COVID-19 cases stands at 2,26,62,575. Presently, there are 37,45,237 active cases and total 2,46,116 deaths have been recorded till now.

Over 13,38,54,676 people have been administered with at least 1 dose of vaccine and 2.5% population i.e. 3,44,50,192 people has been fully vaccinated till May 9.

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Stuti Tripathi
I have keen interest in scientific discoveries and technological advancements. I'm always curious to learn more and more about our galaxies and typically love to read about astronomy.

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