A drug against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation, has received regulatory approval for emergency use after yearlong trials.
What this means
India takes another key stride in the fight against the disease, clearing the therapeutic use of the drug that the government expects will reduce dependence on medical oxygen and also help in speedy recovery of patients admitted in hospitals.
How does it work?
When the drug, 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG), enters the body, gets it accumulated inside cells infected by the virus. Once there, it stalls the energy production and metabolic reaction of the virus and stops it from multiplying. DRDO says its "selective accumulation in only virally infected cells" makes it unique.
How is it consumed?
The medicine comes in powdered form and has to be taken orally by dissolving it in water.
Is it a game-changer?
The drug could speed up recovery of hospitalised patient and reduce their dependency of medical oxygen. In hospital trials, it was found that 42% patients, who were administered two sachets of the drug daily, came off oxygen support by the third day. Under standard treatment, just 30% patients come off oxygen support by Say 3.
While the medicine has been found effective in moderate and severe Covid cases and works well even in people above 65 years, it has been granted the emergency use authorisation as an adjunct therapy. In other words, it is no miracle cure and will be part of the treatment protocol involving other elements.
How much will it cost?
The pricing has not been announced yet but sources say each sachet is expected to cost Rs 500-600. DRDO says 2-DG can be easily be mass-produced. Dr Reddy's Lab, DRDO's industry partner on this project, has already started producing a limited quantity of the drugs for hospitals. It will not be available over the counter for the moment.