DRDO anti-COVID drug called 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) has been approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for emergency use on COVID-19 patients in India. The drug has been developed by Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS), a laboratory of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), in collaboration with its industry partner Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL), Hyderabad.
DRDO and DRL started to work on the drug in April 2020, during the first wave of the pandemic, with the help of Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB). The DRDO anti-COVID drug was found to effectively work against the SARS-CoV-2 virus and inhibit its viral growth. The Phase II trials were conducted in May 2020, and Phase III trials were then conducted on 220 patients between December 2020 to March 2021 at 27 COVID hospitals in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, said a PIB release.
Important Features of the DRDO Anti-COVID Drug 2-DG
- DCGI has granted permission for Emergency Use of this drug from 1 May 2021 onwards as adjunct therapy in moderate to severe COVID-19 patients.
- The drug is basically a powder that comes in a sachet that needs to be consumed orally after dissolving it in water.
- One of the benefits of the drug is that it is a generic molecule and an analog of glucose, which means it could be easily produced and be made available across the country.
- The drug works by accumulating in the virus infected cells and prevents virus growth by stopping viral synthesis and energy production.
- The drug selectively accumulates only in virus infected cells.
- 2-DG helps in faster recovery of hospitalised patients and reduces supplemental oxygen dependence.
- Hospital stay of COVID-19 patients could be reduced as the drug has successfully demonstrated RT-PCR negative conversion in COVID patients.