New Delhi: The first batch of anti-COVID drug 2-DG, developed by the DRDO, will be released on Monday by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Health Minister Harsh Vardhan.
The Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI) has approved the oral drug for emergency use as an adjunct therapy in moderate to severe coronavirus patients, the defence ministry said earlier this month.
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 supplemental oxygen dependence.
The approval of the drug has 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.
"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 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 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 (SoC) on various endpoints.
The new COVID-19 adjuvant drug 2-DG impacts only the coronavirus affected cells and not the good cells in the human body, said one of the improved process inventors.
Initially the drug was tested for treating cancer. The cancer cells multiply fast like that of the coronavirus infected ones.
Last year when COVID-19 pandemic broke out, the drug was reviewed and phase I and II clinical studies were made on 110 patients.
The 2-DG does not result in production of energy or prohibits energy production in the cells and hence resulting in its death.