UPDATED: May 16, 2021 23:57 IST
The first batch of the 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) drug developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for treatment of Covid-19 will be released by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday. He will be accompanied by Health Minister Harsh Vardhan.
Hospitals will begin to receive supplies of the drug from Monday onwards. To start with, nearly 10,000 doses will be supplied to various hospitals in Delhi.
The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) had on May 8 approved the drug for emergency use in moderate to severe cases of Covid-19.
The anti-Covid therapeutic application of the drug 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) was developed by the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS), a lab of DRDO in collaboration with Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL), in Hyderabad.
Clinical trial results show that the drug enables faster recovery of hospitalised Covid-19 patients and reduces their supplemental oxygen dependence. Covid patients treated with 2-DG showed a higher proportion of RT-PCR negative conversion.
Patients treated with 2-DG also showed faster recovery from symptoms. A difference of 2.5 days was seen in the median time taken to achieve normalisation of specific vital signs parameters between those given the drug and those who were not.
The drug comes in the form of powder in a sachet. It has to be dissolved in water and taken orally. The drug accumulates in the virus-infected cells and prevents virus growth by stopping viral synthesis and energy production. Its selective accumulation in virally infected cells makes it a unique drug.
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 in Hyderabad and found that this molecule works effectively against the SARS-CoV-2 virus and inhibits viral growth.
Based on these results, the DCGI’s Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) permitted Phase-II clinical trials of 2-DG in Covid-19 patients in May 2020.
In the Phase-II trials conducted till October last year, the drug was found to be safe for Covid-19 patients and led to significant improvement in their condition. Phase II-A was conducted in six hospitals and Phase II-B clinical trial was conducted at 11 hospitals across India. The Phase-II trial was conducted on a total of 110 patients.
Based on successful results, DCGI further permitted the Phase-III clinical trials in November 2020. The Phase-III clinical trial was conducted on 220 patients between December 2020 and March 2021 at 27 Covid hospitals in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Detailed data of the Phase-III clinical trial was presented to the DCGI.