2DG, DRDO’s first batch of oral anti-COVID drug launched
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2DG, DRDO’s first batch of oral anti-COVID drug launched

May 17, 2021

New Delhi: Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan this morning released the first batch of anti-COVID drug 2DG developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

The first and second batch (of anti-COVID drug 2-DG) will be used in a limited manner. It will be used in All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Armed Forces Hospitals, DRDO Hospitals and any other need which arises. From June onwards it will be made available to all Hospitals, said Dr. G. Satheesh Reddy, Chairman, DRDO. 

“With the support of DRDO and under the leadership of Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, this (anti-COVID drug 2DG) may be our first indigenous research-based outcome to fight against COVID-19. It will reduce recovery time and oxygen dependency,” Dr. Harsh Vardhan said.

“Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership, the DRDO has played an important role in the fight against COVID-19. Not just for India but I hope it serves in the fight against COVID, globally in the coming days. I thank and congratulate DRDO and its scientists,” he added.

Rajnath Singh said under the leadership of the PM, the issue of oxygen production has been resolved with collective effort. “We will not be at ease and will not be tired but will keep fighting and will win against COVID-19. Now medicine issue is also not there much,” Singh added.

This comes after the Drugs Controller General of India approved the oral drug for emergency use as an adjunct therapy in moderate to severe Coronavirus patients. Earlier on May 8, the Defence Ministry said the clinical trials of the drug, 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG), showed that it helps in a faster recovery of hospitalised patients and reduces supplemental    oxygen dependence.

“In the on-going second COVID-19 wave, a large number of patients are facing severe oxygen dependency and need hospitalisation. The drug is expected to save precious lives due to the mechanism of its operation in the infected cells. This also reduces the hospital stay of COVID-19 patients,” the Ministry had said.

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Therapeutic application 

The anti-COVID therapeutic application of the drug has been developed by the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS) along with Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL) in Hyderabad. The Ministry said the drug comes in a powder form in a sachet and is taken orally by dissolving it in water. It further said that patients treated with 2-DG showed a faster symptomatic cure than the standard of care on various endpoints.

The approval of the drug has come at a time when the nation is struggling with a deadly second wave of the Coronavirus disease. Higher proportion of patients treated with 2-DG showed RT-PCR negative conversion in COVID patients.

Pursuing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for preparedness against the pandemic, DRDO took the initiative of developing anti-COVID therapeutic application of 2-DG. In April 2020, during the first wave of the pandemic, INMAS-DRDO scientists conducted laboratory experiments with the help of Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad and found that this molecule works effectively against SARS-CoV-2 virus and inhibits the viral growth.

Based on these results, Drugs Controller General of India’s (DCGI) Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) permitted Phase-II clinical trial of 2-DG in COVID-19 patients in May 2020.

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