At a time when the country battles with the second wave of coronavirus, the first batch of 10,000 doses of 2DG medicine for curing COVID-19 patients would be launched early next week and will be given to patients, DRDO officials informed on Friday.
"The drug manufacturers are working on ramping up the production of the medicine for future use. The drug has been developed by a team of DRDO scientists including Dr. Anant Narayan Bhatt," officials said.
Earlier in the day, Karnataka Health Minister Dr. K Sudhakar had said that DRDO 2DG drug for Covid-19 could act as a game-changer in the nation's fight against the pandemic.
"The 2-DG drug developed by DRDO is a big breakthrough and could be a game-changer in the battle against pandemic as it helps in faster recovery of hospitalized patients and reduces oxygen dependence," Sudhakar was quoted as saying in a statement issued by his office.
The Minister had visited the DRDO campus in the city where scientists briefed him about the ongoing efforts at the premier research organization to find solutions to tackle the pandemic.
About the 2-DG (2-deoxy-D-glucose), an anti-COVID-19 therapeutic application of the drug, the statement read that it has been developed by the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS), a lab of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), in collaboration with Dr. Reddys Laboratories (DRL), Hyderabad.
Clinical trial results have shown that this molecule helps in the faster recovery of hospitalized patients and reduces supplemental oxygen dependence.
The 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, the statement read.
In April 2020, during the first wave of the pandemic, INMAS-DRDO scientists conducted laboratory experiments with the help of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, and found that this molecule works effectively against the SARS-CoV-2 virus and inhibits viral growth, according to the statement.
How does the drug work?
The drug operates on the principle of ‘cheat the cheater’, said an official.
“Any virus, once inside the body, makes its own copies by cheating human cells and takes their protein to multiply itself. The thought process by Indian scientists was simple.
“For every doubling of virus-cell, it needs energy (glucose). So, the medicine is simply a ‘pseudo’ glucose that the multiplying virus intakes but actually, this drug renders it unable to multiply. Once rapid multiplication of the virus is halted, the patient’s antibodies can readily combat it and overpower it within hours,” the official explained.
Earlier in April this year, the DCGI granted emergency approval to a similar drug produced by pharma giant Zydus Cadila. The drug - Virafin - was shown to reduce the need for oxygen support among moderate cases of Covid-19, along with improving recovery time.
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