Battling Coronavirus: Local anti-Covid drug 2-DG to hit markets in June

By: |
May 18, 2021 6:00 AM

The drug has been developed by the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS), a laboratory under the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), in collaboration with pharma major Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL).

The drug, to be administered orally, showed efficacy in trial stages to reduce oxygen dependence of hospitalsed Covid-19 patients and enable their faster recovery, including quicker RT-PCR-negative conversion.The drug, to be administered orally, showed efficacy in trial stages to reduce oxygen dependence of hospitalsed Covid-19 patients and enable their faster recovery, including quicker RT-PCR-negative conversion.

A potentially promising indigenous cure for Covid-19 will hit the Indian market in the first week of June. Defence minister Rajnath Singh released the first batch of the drug – 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) – on Monday.

The drug, to be administered orally, showed efficacy in trial stages to reduce oxygen dependence of hospitalsed Covid-19 patients and enable their faster recovery, including quicker RT-PCR-negative conversion.

The drug has been developed by the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS), a laboratory under the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), in collaboration with pharma major Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL).

DRDO has licensed the technology to DRL, which will be manufacturing the drug. DRL chairman Satish Reddy said the company would ramp up production of 2-DG by increasing both capacity and rate of production. He called it a unique drug and an additional option that would be available for treatment of the disease.

The drug would be available in both government and private hospitals for patients as adjunct therapy for moderate to severe infections.

The Drugs Controller General of India’s (DCGI) had on May 1 approved this drug for emergency use in the country.

There is no specific medicine for Covid-19 currently available in the country. Experimental drugs or repurposed drugs are being used to treat the patients and these include Remdevisir, Ivermectin, Tocilizumab, steroids and plasma therapy, all of which are part of treatment protocols.

Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said 2-DG could help in the fight against Covid-19 not just in India but globally in the coming days.

In April 2020, during the first wave of the pandemic, INMAS-DRDO scientists conducted laboratory experiments with the help of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, and found that this molecule works effectively against SARS-CoV-2 virus and inhibited the viral growth. The drug is a repurposed drug as the 2-DG molecule is meant for treating tumour and cancer cells.

The Phase-II trials of the drug were carried out between May 2020 and October 2020 and Phase III trials from December 2020 to March 2021 on 220 patients at 30 hospitals across the country. It was found to be safe and demonstrated efficacy. There was a 2.5 days difference in the treatment time and achieving normalisation of specific vital signs parameters. Around 42% of patients improved symptomatically and became free from supplemental oxygen dependence by day 3.

The drug comes in powder form in a sachet, which is taken orally by dissolving it in water. It accumulates in the virus-infected cells and prevents virus growth by stopping viral synthesis and energy production. The pricing will be decided by DRL and has not been disclosed yet.

AIIMS Delhi director Dr Randeep Guleria and the Lt General Sunil Kant of the Armed Forces Medical Services received the first batch of the drug. Around 10,000 doses of the drug are being released at present.

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