The first batch of DRDO’s medicine 2-DG to treat Covid-19 patients, was released for use in hospitals on Monday by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Health Minister Harsh Vardhan.
The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has approved the oral drug for emergency use as an adjunct therapy in moderate to severe coronavirus patients, according to a defence ministry statement.
The ministry, on May 8, said the clinical trials of the drug, 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG), showed that it helps in a faster recovery of hospitalised patients and reduces dependence on supplemental oxygen.
The release of the drug has come at a time when India is grappling with a ferocious second wave of the deadly coronavirus pandemic that has stretched the country’s healthcare infrastructure to its limit.
“In the ongoing second COVID-19 wave, a large number of patients are facing severe oxygen dependency and need hospitalisation. The drug is expected to save precious lives due to the mechanism of its operation in the infected cells. This also reduces the hospital stay of COVID-19 patients,” the ministry had said.
The drug comes in a powder form in a sachet and is taken orally by dissolving it in water, the ministry said. In efficacy trends, it said, patients treated with 2-DG showed a faster symptomatic cure than the standard of care on various endpoints. A significantly favourable trend (2.5 days difference) was seen in terms of the average time to achieving normalisation of specific vital signs parameters when compared to existing treatment protocol, thed efence ministry said.
The anti-COVID therapeutic application of the drug has been developed by the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS), a leading laboratory of the DRDO, in collaboration with Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL) in Hyderabad.
The DRDO had launched the initiative of developing anti-Covid therapeutic application of 2-DG in response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for preparedness against the deadly pandemic
In April 2020, when the first wave of pandemic struck India, scientists at DRDO's laboratory, Inmas, conducted experiments with the help of Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) and found that this molecule works effectively against SARS-CoV-2 virus and inhibits the viral growth.