India's DRDO, Dr Reddy develop new anti-COVID-19 drug, 2-DG

The COVID-19 situation in India has made global headlines as the country battles a record surge in cases and deaths per day. With matters getting worse following a shortage in medicines and oxygen supply, India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL) have successfully managed to develop a new anti-COVID-19 drug called “2-DG” (2-deoxy-D-glucose).

As per clinical trial results, the drug is shown to boost recovery in hospitalized patients and consequently reduce the dependency on supplemental oxygen. Many COVID-19 patients treated with 2-DG have shown to witness a RT-PCR negative conversion, with the drug touted to be of immense benefit to the people suffering from COVID-19.

According to DRDO, patients subjected to 2-DG cured faster in comparison to SoC (Standard of Care) on numerous endpoints. While on the bases of successful results, Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) earlier permitted the Phase-III clinical trials which was conducted on 220 patients between Dec. 2020 to March 2021.

In 2-DG arm, large number of patients improved symptomatically and didn’t rely on oxygen by Day-3 in contrast to SoC, demonstrating an early relief from Oxygen therapy/dependence.

The similar trend was witnessed in patients aged over 65 years. On May 01, 2021, the DCGI granted approval for Emergency Use of 2-DG as an adjunct treatment for patients suffering from moderate to severe COVID-19. As a generic molecule & glucose analogue, 2-DG can easily be produced and made available on a large scale in India. 

Available in powder form, the drug is taken orally with water, which on ingestion gets gathered around the virus infected cells and stops the virus from spreading by means of blocking energy production and viral synthesis. Its selective accumulation in infected cells makes 2-DG a viable treatment option.

According to scientist at DRDO, the ongoing second wave of COVID-19 has caused a large number of patients in India to face severe dependency on oxygen and a need for hospitalization. Use of 2-DG could save precious lives as to its mechanism of operation against infected cells. The drug could also help reduce hospital stay of COVID-19 patients.

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