The new anti-COVID-19 therapeutic drug 2-deoxy-D-glucose or 2-DG was launched by Defence Minister Rajnath and Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan on Monday.
The 2-DG drug which lowers the need for supplemental oxygen was approved by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for emergency use earlier this month. The approval of the drug has come at a time when the nation is struggling with a deadly second wave of coronavirus disease.
Developed by the DRDO in association with pharma major Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL), the drug has been termed a game-changer in the fight against the COVID pandemic.
How Does the Drug Work?
The drug 2-Deoxy-D-Glucose comes in the powdered form in a sachet, which needs to be 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. The drug also works on virus infection spread into lungs, which helps decrease patient’s dependability on oxygen.
The first phase trial of the drug was completed in April-May 2020. The second phase trial was conducted on 110 patients in 11 hospitals of the country between May 2020 and October 2020. It was found in the second phase trial that patients administered with the drug recovered 2.5 days earlier than the other patients. The third and final trial of the drug was conducted between December 2020 and March 2021 on 220 patients admitted across 27 hospitals in a number of states- Delhi, UP, West Bengal, Gujrat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu. Faster recovery and lesser dependence on oxygen therapy were reported from the phase three trials.
A press statement by the Ministry of Defence said: “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.”
Advantage of the Drug:
One major advantage of the drug is that it can be easily produced in India and made available in large quantities as the 2-DG is a generic molecule and analogue of glucose.
Cost of the Drug:
The price of the 2-DG drug has not been finalized by the government yet. However, reports say it is going to cost about Rs. 500 to 600.