The new anti-Covid oral drug developed by the DRDO will help hospitalised patients and reduce their supplemental oxygen dependence. The drug 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) has been developed by the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS), a leading laboratory of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), in collaboration with Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL) in Hyderabad. The drug, which comes in powder form in a sachet and is taken orally by dissolving it in water, was approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for emergency use as an adjunct therapy.
News18, in an exclusive with the DRDO Project Director and Scientist of 2-DG, Dr Sudhir Chandana, explains how anti-Covid-19 therapeutic application of the drug will work on patients.
Q: How did you develop the 2-DG drug?
Dr Sudhir Chandana: We started working on 2 DG when the first wave of Covid-19 hit India in April 2020. We found that the drug stops the spread of coronavirus inside the body cells. After the findings, we asked the DCGI for permission to conduct clinical trials. In May 2020, we got permission for the clinical trials. By the end of October 2020 we had completed the second phase of trials, and the results were very good. Using standard care, the 2 DG will be more beneficial for the Covid-19 patients.
Q2: What do you mean by standard care?
Dr Sudhir Chandana: Standard care is the primary medicine used in hospitals for treating Covid patients.
Q3: Will the 2-DG drug be effective for patients with mild symptoms or moderate and serious symptoms?
Dr Sudhir Chandana: Our trials were conducted on moderate and serious covid patients who were admitted to hospitals. All the patients benefitted, and no side effects were found. So it’s a safe medicine. In the phase two trials, we found that the recovery rate of the patients was higher and in the third phase, we observed reduced dependence on supplemental oxygen.
Q: How 2-DG drugs control the coronavirus and reduce the dependence on oxygen?
Dr Sudhir Chandana: The 2 DG drug, like glucose, spreads through the body, reaches the virus-infected cells and prevents virus growth by stopping viral synthesis and destroys the protein’s energy production. The drug also works on virus infection spread into lungs which help us to decrease patients dependability on oxygen.
Q: When will this drug be available to patients?
Dr Sudhir Chandana: Our Industry partner is Dr Reddy’s Laboratories. We are working and trying together to expedite manufacturing. In a few weeks or within a month time, the medicine will be available for the patients.
Q: Are the raw materials needed for 2-DG drug available in India, or will they be imported?
Dr Sudhir Chandana: As per my knowledge, there is no problem with the availability of raw materials for the drugs. Reddy lab can give more details.
Q: Will the 2 DG dug affect the surge in Covid cases and prevent deaths?
Dr Sudhir Chandana: All patients who participated in the trials have recovered from covid-19. Therefore, we hope that Covid patients will be benefitted from this drug.