In April 2020, during the first wave of the pandemic, Indian Defence Research scientists conducted laboratory experiments with the help of Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad and found that this molecule works effectively against the SARS-CoV-2 virus and inhibits viral growth.
India has introduced its first domestically-developed anti-Covid drug, 2DG, which is in powder form and expected to treat COVID-19 infections, taking one week to work.
On Monday morning, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh along with Health and Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan released the first batch of 10,000 doses, which will be used for treatment of COVID-19 patients in Delhi hospitals.
The Drugs Controller of India had on 8 May approved the drug for emergency use in moderate to severe cases of COVID-19.
The anti-COVID therapeutic application of the drug 2DG has been developed by the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences, a laboratory of India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation. It is being rolled out in partnership with Dr Reddy’s Laboratories in Hyderabad.
In the ongoing 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 operation of the drug in infected cells. This also reduces the hospital stay of COVID-19 patients, a statement from the Defence Research and Development Organisation said.
In Phase-II trials conducted during May to October 2020, the drug was found to be safe in COVID-19 patients and showed significant improvement in their recovery.
Clinical trials of the drug showed that it enables the faster recovery of hospitalised COVID-19 patients and reduces their supplemental oxygen dependence. Patients treated with 2DG also showed faster recovery from symptoms.
The drug comes in the form of a powder in a sachet and has to be dissolved in water and taken orally. The drug accumulates in the virus-infected cells and prevents growth by stopping the multiplication of the virus.