DRDO’s new anti-Covid oral drug, 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG), was recently granted emergency use approval by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) as an adjunct therapy in moderate cases of COVID-19.
The 2-DG drug is expected to help hospitalised COVID-19 patients and reduce their supplemental oxygen dependence.
The anti-Covid oral drug has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO’s) leading laboratory- Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS) in collaboration with Dr Reddy’s Laboratories.
How was 2-DG developed? How were clinical trials conducted?
DRDO Project Director and Scientist of 2-DG, Dr Sudhir Chandana explained how the drug was developed.
He stated that when the pandemic hit India in April 2020, they discovered that 2-DG halts the spread of COVID-19 inside the body cells.
“After the findings, we asked the DCGI for permission to conduct clinical trials. In May 2020, we got permission for the clinical trials.
By the end of October 2020 we had completed the second phase of trials, and the results were very good. Using standard care, 2 DG will be more beneficial for the Covid-19 patients.
A total of 110 patients were part of the Phase-II clinical trials of DRDO’s 2-DG drug.
The results showed that in terms of improvement of vital signs of COVID-19 symptomatic patients there was a difference of 2.5 days compared to Standard of Care (SoC).
Approval for Phase – III clinical trials were granted in November 2020. These were conducted in 27 COVID-19 hospitals spread across several states.
“Clinical trial results have shown that this molecule helps in faster recovery of hospitalised patients and reduces supplemental oxygen dependence,” an official DRDO statement had explained earlier.
How 2-DG controls COVID-19 and reduces dependence on oxygen?
Explaining how 2-DG controls COVID-19 and reduces dependence on oxygen, Chandana told that , “The 2 DG drug, like glucose, spreads through the body, reaches the virus-infected cells and prevents virus growth by stopping viral synthesis and destroys the protein’s energy production.
The drug also works on virus infection spread into lungs which help us to decrease patients dependability on oxygen”.
How will 2-DG be manufactured?
The DRDO stated that the 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) drug can easily be produced in India and made available in plenty to the citizens as it is a generic molecule and analogue of glucose.
How is 2-DG be consumed?
The anti-COVID drug 2-DG has been developed in powder form and is ingested orally by dissolving it in water.
When will this drug be available to patients?
Our Industry partner is Dr Reddy’s Laboratories. We are working and trying together to expedite manufacturing. In a few weeks or within a month time, the medicine will be available for the patients.