Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on 17 May 2021 released the first batch of anti-COVID drug 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The anti-Covid therapeutic application of the drug has been developed by the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS), a leading laboratory of the DRDO, in collaboration with Dr Reddy's Laboratories (DRL) in Hyderabad.

What

  1. The drug will be the “first indigenous research-based outcome” to fight the virus, and will “reduce recovery time and oxygen dependency” in the country.
  2. Earlier this month, the Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI) has approved the oral drug for emergency use as an adjunct therapy in moderate to severe coronavirus patients.
  3. The drug comes in powder form in a sachet, which is taken orally by dissolving it in water. It 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.
  4. Clinical trial results have shown that this drug helps in faster recovery of hospitalised patients and reduces supplemental oxygen dependence.
  5. Higher proportion of patients treated with 2-DG showed RT-PCR negative conversion in Covid patients.

Flashback

  1. 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.
  2. The DRDO, along with its industry partner DRL, Hyderabad, started the clinical trials to test the safety and efficacy of the drug in Covid-19 patients.
  3. In November 2020, Phase-3 trials were approved and went on from December to April.
  4. On 1 May 2021, the drug was approved for emergency use. Dr Reddy’s Labs is engaged in its production.