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Anti-COVID-19 Drug Helps in Faster Recovery of Hospitalized Patients and Reduces Supplemental Oxygen Dependence

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 11 May 2021
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Image: Anti-COVID-19 Drug Helps in Faster Recovery of Hospitalized Patients and Reduces Supplemental Oxygen Dependence (Photo courtesy of DNA India)
Image: Anti-COVID-19 Drug Helps in Faster Recovery of Hospitalized Patients and Reduces Supplemental Oxygen Dependence (Photo courtesy of DNA India)
An anti-COVID-19 therapeutic application of the drug 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) has been shown to aid faster recovery of hospitalized patients and reduce supplemental oxygen dependence in clinical trials.

The anti-COVID therapeutic application of 2-DG has been developed by India’s Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS), a lab of Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO; Delhi, India), in collaboration with Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL; Hyderabad, India). A higher proportion of patients treated with 2-DG showed RT-PCR negative conversion in COVID-19 patients. The drug will be of immense benefit to people suffering from COVID-19.

In April 2020, INMAS-DRDO scientists had conducted laboratory experiments and found that the molecule worked effectively against SARS-CoV-2 virus and inhibited viral growth. Based on these results, the Phase 2 clinical trial of 2-DG was conducted in May 2020 to test the safety and efficacy of the drug in COVID-19 patients. In the Phase 2 trials (including dose ranging) involving 110 patients conducted during May to October 2020, the drug was found to be safe for COVID-19 patients who showed a significant improvement in recovery. The Phase 2a trial was conducted in six hospitals and Phase 2b (dose ranging) clinical trial was conducted at 11 hospitals across India.

In efficacy trends, the patients treated with 2-DG showed faster symptomatic cure than Standard of Care (SoC) on various endpoints. A significantly favorable trend (2.5 days difference) was seen in terms of the median time to achieving normalization of specific vital signs parameters when compared to SoC. Based on the successful results, the Phase 3 clinical trial was conducted on 220 patients between December 2020 to March 2021 at 27 COVID hospitals across several Indian states. In the 2-DG arm, a significantly higher proportion of patients improved symptomatically and became free from supplemental oxygen dependence (42% vs. 31%) by Day-3 in comparison to SoC, indicating early relief from oxygen therapy/dependence. A similar trend was observed in patients aged more than 65 years. On May 01, 2021, the DCGI granted permission for Emergency Use of the drug as adjunct therapy in moderate to severe COVID-19 patients.

Being a generic molecule and analogue of glucose, the drug can be easily produced and made available in plenty. The drug comes in a powder form in a sachet and 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 the drug unique. In the second COVID-19 wave, a large number of patients are facing severe oxygen dependency and need hospitalization. The drug is expected to save precious lives due to its mechanism of operation in infected cells and also reduce the hospital stay of COVID-19 patients.

Related Links:
DRDO
Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories



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