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Explainer : What you need to know about DRDO’s anti-Covid medicine 2-DG

Explainer : What you need to know about DRDO’s anti-Covid medicine 2-DG

A medicine to treat Covid-19 patients , developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation, has been approved for emergency use after year-long trials and represents a major advance in the country’s fight against the deadly Covid-19 disease.

How does it work?

The drug, 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) enters the body and  accumulates in the cells infected by the virus. It then stalls the energy production and metabolic reaction of the virus and stops it from multiplying. DRDO says its "selective accumulation in only virally infected cells" makes it unique.

How is it consumed?

The medicine comes in powdered form and has to be taken orally by dissolving it in water.

Is it a game changer ?

The drug could speed up recovery of hospitalised patients and reduce their dependence on medical oxygen. In hospital trials, it was found that 42% of the patients, who were administered two sachets of the drug daily, came off oxygen support by the third day. Under standard treatment, just 30% of the patients come off oxygen support by day 3.

While the medicine has been found effective in moderate and severe Covid cases and works well even in people above 65 years, it has been granted the emergency use authorisation as an adjunct therapy. In other words, it is no miracle cure and will be part of the treatment protocol involving other elements.

How much will it cost?

The price has not been announced yet but sources say each sachet is expected to cost Rs 500-600. DRDO says 2-DG can be easily mass-produced.

Dr Reddy's Lab, DRDO's industry partner on this project, has already started producing a limited quantity of the drugs for hospitals. It will not be available over the counter at present.

 DCGI approves anti-COVID drug developed by DRDO for emergency use