Kochi-based pharmaceutical firm PNB Vesper Life Sciences has developed a new drug that can be used for the treatment of the novel Coronavirus if approved. The company has received a go-ahead for mid-stage trials of GPP-Baladol on COVID-19 patients, The Indian Express reported. According to the report, if this drug proves to be effective, it would be the first new chemical entity that will get clearance for treating severe patients infected with Coronavirus. Many pharma companies have been focusing on repurposing older drugs that were approved previously during the pandemic.
The report citing experts said while the drug seems promising, it is too early to be excited about it. It has so far cleared the initial stage of trials, implying it has proved safe for usage. However, its effectiveness is yet to be approved. The report said that PNB Vesper Life Sciences, having the patent for the drug, is aiming to test the effectiveness of Baladol against corticosteroid dexamethasone. So far, corticosteroid dexamethasone has helped in reducing the mortality rate among Coronavirus patients who are in severe conditions and need ventilator support. The mid-phase or second phase of the trial will be conducted among 40 candidates who have tested positive for Coronavirus. Their condition of infection should be moderate for trials which will take place at BMJ Medical College, Pune over 60 days.
According to Dr. Anant Bhan, researcher, global health, Bioethics and Health Policy, the development is encouraging when looked at from a pharmaceutical R&D perspective. But whether the drug will work or not is yet to be studied.
For now, depending on the cases and effectiveness, drugs like Favipiravir and Remdesivir are being used for treating Coronavirus infected patients. The drugs are being looked at for treating the viral infection until the vaccine arrives. In India, three vaccines for COVID-19 are currently under the second phase of trials.