India approves anti-Covid oral drug

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Newsnow Desk: The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has approved an anti-Covid oral drug for emergency use as an adjunct therapy in moderate to severe patients.

“On May 01, the DCGI granted permission for emergency use of this drug as adjunct therapy in moderate to severe Covid-19 patients,” said a press release from the Indian defence ministry. “Being a generic molecule and analogue of glucose, it can be easily produced and made available in plenty in the country.”

According to the ministry, it accumulates in the infected cells and prevents virus growth by stopping viral synthesis and energy production. “Its selective accumulation in virally-infected cells makes this drug unique,” added the release. The drug will be of immense benefit to people suffering from Covid-19, it pointed out.

The drug in powder form is packed in a sachet and can be taken orally by dissolving it in water. It then accumulates in the virus-infected cells and prevents its growth by stopping viral synthesis and energy production.

Importantly, clinical trials have shown that the molecule helps in faster recovery of patients in hospitals and reduces the need for supplemental oxygen.

In the first wave of the pandemic in April 2020, the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS) and DRDO did laboratory experiments with the drug and found it was effective against SARS-Cov-2 virus and inhibiting its viral growth. The following month, the DCGI allowed the clinical trial on patients to test its safety and efficacy.

The drug was found to be safe in the next phase of trials. Phase III of the trials were done between December 2020 and March 2021 at 27 Covid hospitals in several states including Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and the southern states.

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