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All you need to know about DRDO's new oral COVID-19 drug '2-DG'

The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) recently approved 2-DG for the treatment of coronavirus (COVID-19) patients as the drug shows significant results and improves the health by reducing the dependency of supplemental oxygen.

All you need to know about DRDO's new oral COVID-19 drug '2-DG'
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases are rising in India and the government is trying to manage the crisis by imposing strict rules and guidelines, thereby working closely with the respective state governments. Amidst the increasing cases, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) on May 8, 2021, cleared Defence Research and Development Organisation's (DRDO) drug, 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) which is said to be useful for for emergency cases.

The information was shared by central government which stated that the new oral drug will be highly useful in treating hospitalised patients. 2-DG is said to have caused no significant side effects during the trails and is aimed at reducing the dependency

The statement released by the officials read, "The drug comes in powder form in sachet, which is taken orally by dissolving it in water. Its selective accumulation in virally infected cells makes this drug unique." Experts have clarified that the drug prevents the viral growth by accumulating in the infected cells, thereby stopping its synthesis. Meanwhile, patients who were administered with 2-DG did not depend on supplemental oxygen within three days of treatment, which is said to be an important sign of relief in the treatment.

The statement further added, "In the ongoing second COVID-19 wave, a large number of patients are facing severe oxygen dependency and need hospitalisation. The drug is expected to save precious lives due to the mechanism of operation of the drug in infected cells. This also reduces the hospital stay of COVID-19 patients."

2-DG has been developed by DRDO's  Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS) in association with Hyderabad-based Dr Reddy’s Laboratories. Sharing more information, the government siad that the initial experiments were conducted by the team during the first COVID-19 wave in April 2020 whereby the team 'found that this molecule works effectively against SARS-CoV-2 virus' thereby inhibiting the growth of the virus.

Permission for the second phase of the trails was given in May 2020, and the same were conducted until October 2020 on 110 patients. The positive results stated that 2-DG was safe for administration as it showed significant improvement and recovery of the coronavirus patients.

"In efficacy trends, the patients treated with 2-DG showed faster symptomatic cure than Standard of Care (SoC) on various endpoints. A significantly favourable trend (2.5 days difference) was seen in terms of the median time to achieving normalisation of specific vital signs parameters when compared to SoC," said the statement.

Phase-III studies began on 220 patients in November 2020 and the results showed that the patients were not dependent on supplemental oxygen by the third day of treatment. Similar results were observed on patients more than 65 years of age.

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