Latest position as on June 28, 2021on: Cure for COVID-19 infection as edible medicine developed in India — an achievement for the humanity

I am an Indian, living in India. Recent devastating wave of COVID-19 infection has been devastating for India with loss of a large number of precious lives. Due to huge population (1.4 Billion) Vaccination of all the people is by itself a stupendous job.

However, our able and dedicated prime minister Mr. Narendra Modi is working extremely hard to sail through in these difficult times. Despite all the efforts large number of fresh cases of COVID-19 infection is very high latest being 403,738 new cases on 9th May (luckily 386,444 persons recovered too) in last 24 hours; Active cases on date being 3,736,648 and number of deaths 4,092.

The way the international community has come up and extended its helping hand to India is admirable and goes to show that humanity is alive and kicking — this being made possible through modern means of communications. We received plane loads of Oxygen, Oxygen Concentrators, Ventilators, Remdesivir (which it is very well known is not a medicine for treatment for COVID-19 infection). Alas! the world community didn’t have any real medicine for treatment of COVID-19 infection else we would definitely received plenty of it too any by this time so that our misery would have very much reduced and we would have been on path of recovery.

I am writing to announce to the world that the help extended by all hasn’t gone in vane and India is ready to return the favour with heartfelt thankfulness to the world community.

To this end, what India has achieved makes me proud of being an Indian, for our scientists have for the first time in the world developed an edible medicine (cure) for COVID-19 infection. We Indians culturally and historically are benevolent, sharing and giving by nature. Looking at the worldly belongings as a custodian rather than owner is a nature inbuilt in our genes. Millennia back ZERO was gifted to mathematical world and in present time we would be returning the favours and love with gift of a real MEDICINE FOR COVID-19 INFECTION.

Now I come to the story of development of the COVID-19 Medicine, which goes as follows (Posted On: 08 MAY 2021 1:42PM by PIB Delhi):

DCGI approves anti-COVID drug developed by DRDO for emergency use.

An anti-COVID-19 therapeutic application of the drug 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) has been developed by Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS), a lab of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), in collaboration with Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL), Hyderabad. Clinical trial results have shown that this molecule helps in faster recovery of hospitalised patients and reduces supplemental oxygen dependence. 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.

Pursuing Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s call for preparedness against the pandemic, DRDO took the initiative of developing anti-COVID therapeutic application of 2-DG. In April 2020, during the first wave of the pandemic, INMAS-DRDO scientists conducted laboratory experiments with the help of Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad and found that this molecule works effectively against SARS-CoV-2 virus and inhibits the viral growth. Based on these results, Drugs Controller General of India’s (DCGI) Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) permitted Phase-II clinical trial of 2-DG in COVID-19 patients in May 2020.

The DRDO, along with its industry partner DRL, Hyderabad, started the clinical trials to test the safety and efficacy of the drug in COVID-19 patients. In Phase-II trials (including dose ranging) conducted during May to October 2020, the drug was found to be safe in COVID-19 patients and showed significant improvement in their recovery. Phase IIa was conducted in six hospitals and Phase IIb (dose ranging) clinical trial was conducted at 11 hospitals all over the country. Phase-II trial was conducted on 110 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.

Based on successful results, DCGI further permitted the Phase-III clinical trials in November 2020. The Phase-III clinical trial was conducted on 220 patients between December 2020 to March 2021 at 27 COVID hospitals in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The detailed data of phase-III clinical trial was presented to DCGI. In 2-DG arm, 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 an early relief from Oxygen therapy/dependence.

The similar trend was observed in patients aged more than 65 years. On May 01, 2021, DCGI granted permission for Emergency Use of this drug as adjunct therapy in moderate to severe COVID-19 patients. Being a generic molecule and analogue of glucose, it can be easily produced and made available in plenty in the country.

The drug comes in powder form in sachet, which 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 this drug unique.

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.

Today is Monday, June the 28th 2021. Following is the latest progress achieved towards (i) the Oral Drug mentioned by me earlier in the above article and (ii) Easy Test of Covid-19 infection.

It gives me pleasure to inform all concerned through the esteemed platform of Medium.com that Hyderabad, India, based Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories has today announced the commercial launch of the anti-COVID drug 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG). The Hyderabad based pharmaceutical company said that it will supply the drug to major Government and private hospitals across India. Surprisingly, I checked the App “Pharm Easy” and found that the oral medicine is available through the app against prescription just for for Indian Rupees 145.60 (about USD 2.0). The following is a picture of the pack of the medicine as sold in market:

Another useful development is Antigen Test Kit to develop which IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) Delhi had partnered with a Delhi-based company and the kit has been approved by both ICMR and DGCI and it is easily available in the market. My local drug store has it and since it is non-prescription anyone can buy it for Indian Rupees 250/- (about USD 3.5). Following is a picture of the pack as downloaded from Google:

Rumours about 3-rd phase of Covid-19 (Delta Variant) already knocking doors of India are already in circulation. I hope and wish that (i) the above two items would serve to substantially bring down the severeness of the 3-rd wave in India and (ii) humanity at large would be benefitted from the above two items if Governments of other 3-rd wave effected countries allow imports of these items from India.

In any case what I have gladly mentioned is a victory of science.

Retired engineer. Previously Executive Director — Torrent Power, CEO — L&T Power Plant O&M, Sr. V.P. — Hindalco, Director — Renusagar Eng. Services.