The central government on Monday released the first batch of 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2DG) drugs developed by DRDO’s lab for emergency use. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh handed over the 2DG drug to Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan Singh. One box each of the drug sachets were handed over to the AIIMS Director Dr. Randeep Guleria and Lt. Gen. Sunil Kant of Armed forces medical services. The Defence Ministry said in its statement that more drugs will be handed over to hospitals across the nation for emergency use.
2-deoxy-D-glucose (2DG) is an anti-COVID therapeutic application that has been developed by the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS) which is a DRDO lab in collaboration with Dr. Reddy’s Laboratory, Hyderabad. The Chairman of Dr. Reddy’s Laboratory K. Satish Reddy has said that they will speed the production so that the drug is made available to all the hospitals across the country by the first week of June.
The Drug Controller General of India gave emergency approval for DRDO’s 2DG drug earlier last week. The approval came at a time when India is fighting the second wave of the Chinese Virus pandemic that has resulted in the deaths of thousands of citizens due to lack of Oxygen, Medicine, and lack of hospital beds due to a rapid surge in cases from the last week of March and also a shortage of vaccines.
The drug helps in lowering the dependence on supplemental oxygen. The Defence Ministry in its press statement had said, “Clinical trial results have shown that this molecule helps in faster recovery of hospitalized patients and reduces supplemental oxygen dependence. A higher proportion of patients treated with 2-DG showed RT-PCR negative conversion in Covid patients. The drug will be of immense benefit to the people suffering from Covid-19.”
The 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2DG) comes in powder which has to be administered by diluting in water. This 2DG works by building up selectively in virus-infected cells and stops virus growth by disrupting viral synthesis and energy production. This drug helps in accelerating the recovery in patients experiencing moderate-to-severe symptoms and also helps in reducing oxygen dependency. According to experts the drug used to treat cancerous tumours contains 2DG molecules hence it helps in disrupting the virus growth in infected cells.
DRDO’s Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences carried out lab experiments in collaboration with the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, and discovered that the 2DG molecule works against the Chinese Virus and disrupts its growth. The Clinical trials of this drug began last summer. The data from phase two clinical trials carried out on 110 patients infected with the Chinese virus showed that the drug was safe to be used for treating the patients infected with a virus and also showed a quicker recovery. The patients who received the treatment with a 2DG drug showed quick recovery from the symptoms as compared to standard treatment. The trials were carried out across Delhi, Maharashtra, Telangana, West Bengal, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and it was observed that the drug could stop or reduces the oxygen dependency by the third day. Phase three trials started in November last year and carried out on 220 patients at 27 COVID hospitals across various states in the country. The data particularly showed the patients were taken off oxygen support by day three and similar recovery was seen in the patients aged above 65.
As the country fights the second wave of this pandemic, it has been observed that a maximum number of patients are infected with mutant variants which spreads faster than the earlier variant and also have a low incubation period. The experts and researchers believe this drug works against all the variants of the virus and would help the patients recover faster especially those needing supplemental oxygen. Dr. Anil Mishra who is Director of INMAS-DRDO says the drug functions by arresting any variant as a multiplying virus and deprives it of food which is glucose in this case and hence stops its multiplication and growth in the body.
The approval of the 2DG drug was in fact a surprise to many and good news in these difficult times when thousands have lost their loved ones; lakhs of citizens recovering from the infection. With the positives of the drug and the results of the clinical trial data the DRDO has not just given a ray of hope but has elevated the morale and confidence of the citizens. The daily rise of cases has seen a consistent dip in the last few days but at the same time, the daily death toll due to Chinese virus infection remains around 4000. As India puts its efforts to bend the curve, it is important to note the contribution of DRDO perhaps 2DG drug might as well prove an important weapon to win the war against the deadly Chinese Virus.
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