Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Health Minister Harsh Vardhan today released the first batch of anti-COVID drug 2-DG (2-deoxy-D-glucose).
The 2-DG has been developed by the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS), a lab of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in collaboration with Dr Reddys Laboratories (DRL).
“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,” according to a government release.
According to DRDO, clinical trial results have shown that this molecule helps in faster recovery of hospitalised patients and reduces supplemental oxygen dependence. Higher proportion of patients treated with 2-DG showed RT-PCR negative conversion in COVID patients. The drug would be of benefit to the people suffering from COVID-19. It comes in a powder form in a sachet and is taken orally by dissolving it in water.
In Phase 2 trials (including dose ranging) conducted during May-October 2020, the drug was found to be safe in COVID-19 patients and showed significant improvement in their recovery, a health ministry statement said. Phase 2 was conducted in six hospitals and Phase 2b (dose ranging) clinical trial was conducted at 11 hospitals all over the country. Phase 2 trial was conducted on 110 patients.
The approval of the drug had come at a time when India is grappling with a record-breaking wave of the coronavirus pandemic that has stretched the country’s healthcare infrastructure to its limit.