The Country’s drug regulator has approved an oral drug developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for emergency use for adjunct treatment of moderate to severe Covid positive patients. DRDO, in a statement on 8 May 2021, said the 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) drug can provide early relief from oxygen dependency among the patients, which can be helpful as the second Covid-19 wave rages on across the country, and more patients continue to need medical oxygen.

What

  1. The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) granted emergency use permission on 1 May 2021, “as adjunct therapy in moderate to severe” patients”.
  2. The drug has been developed by DRDO’s Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS) in collaboration with Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, Hyderabad.
  3. The DRDO statement mentioned that “clinical trial results have shown that this molecule helps in faster recovery of hospitalised patients and reduces supplemental oxygen dependence” and a “higher proportion of patients treated with 2-DG showed RT-PCR negative conversion in Covid patients”.
  4. Scientists of INMAS-DRDO conducted laboratory experiments in April 2020, the first wave of the pandemic, 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.
  5. In efficacy trends, the patients treated with 2-DG showed faster symptomatic cure than Standard of Care (SoC) on various endpoints.
  6. A significantly favourable trend (2.5 days difference) was seen in terms of the median time to achieving normalisation of specific vital signs parameters when compared to SoC.

How does 2-DG drugs work?

  1. The 2-DG comes in powder form in the sachet and is taken orally by dissolving it in water.
  2. 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 this drug unique.
  3. The second wave, the 2-DG drug, DRDO claims, will save lives due to the mechanism of operation of the drug in infected cells and will also help patients in getting discharged sooner.
  4. Sharing microscopic images of cells before and after the drug is administered; that the higher proportion of patients treated with 2-DG showed RT-PCR negative conversion in Covid-19 patients.