India's drug regulator approves psoriasis injection for limited use in COVID-19 patients

India's drug regulator approves psoriasis injection for limited use in COVID-19 patients

New Delhi: India's drug regulator has approved Itolizumab, used to cure skin ailment psoriasis, for restricted emergency use on COVID-19 patients with moderate to severe acute respiratory distress, officials said.

Considering the unmet medical needs to treat COVID-19, Drugs Controller General of India Dr V G Somani approved monoclonal antibody injection Itolizumab for restricted emergency use for the treatment of 'cytokine' release syndrome in moderate to severe acute respiratory distress syndrome patients due to COVID-19, they said on Friday.

"The approval was given after its clinical trials on COVID-19 patients in India was found satisfactory by the expert committee comprising pulmonologists, pharmacologists and medicine experts from AIIMS, among others, for treatment of cytokine release syndrome," an official told PTI.

"It is already an approved drug of Biocon for treating psoriasis for last many years," the official said.

Written informed consent of each patient is required before the use of this drug, he said.

India's COVID-19 tally crossed the 8-lakh-mark on Saturday, just five days after the number of infections in the country had reached seven lakh, with a record single-day jump of 27,114 COVID-19 cases. The death toll climbed to 22,123.

India is the third worst-hit nation by the COVID-19 pandemic. Only the US and Brazil are ahead of India in terms of total coronavirus infections.

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