Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan released the first batch of anti-COVID-19 drug '2-DG' on Monday. Congratulating the Defense Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) and Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL) officials for the successful release of the drug, Dr Harsh Vardhan said that the medicine would be able to expedite recovery in Coronavirus patients and also reduce their dependency on oxygen.
"I want to congratulate the scientists. I pray to god that the results seen in the tests will help not only India but the world. I want to thank the DRDO scientists. In the nation's fight against COVID-19 DRDO came forward and helped arrange COVID hospitals, Oxygen, etc with great dedication," said Dr Harsh Vardhan.
"With the support of DRDO & in the leadership of Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, this (Anti-COVID drug 2DG) may be our first indigenous research-based outcome to fight against COVID-19. It will reduce recovery time & oxygen dependency," he said.
While addressing the event, the Defence Minister said, "I would like to honor the scientists who have a major role in the preparation of this medicine. This medicine has brought a new ray of hope and is an example of the scientific ability of the scientists of our country."
"Whenever our country was in need. the DRDO came forward to work for the nation. Our experts are saying that there can be another possible wave. We will not be at ease and will not be tired but will keep fighting and will win against COVID-19. Under the leadership of PM, the issue of oxygen production has been resolved with collective effort. Now medicine issue is also not there much," he added.
The anti-COVID drug was handed over formally by Rajnath Singh to Dr Harsh Vardhan who then handed it over to AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria. Approximately 10,000 doses of the 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2DG) medicine will be made available by the DRDO this week to be administered across India. The drug was granted approval for emergency use in India on May 1.
Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan release first batch of Anti-COVID drug 2DG developed by DRDO pic.twitter.com/gUu6IuYlrT— ANI (@ANI) May 17, 2021
The anti-COVID-19 therapeutic has been developed by DRDO scientists at the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS) in collaboration with Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL) in Hyderabad. Based on the lab experiments conducted in April 2020, 2-DG was found to be safe and effective against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The Phase-II trials of the drug showed that the drug was effective against the COVID-19 virus and demonstrated signs of recovery in patients. Following the successful Phase-II trials between May and October 2020, the drug was tested again in Phase-IIa and Phase-IIb trials, which were conducted at six and 11 hospitals respectively. Overall the Phase-II trials were conducted on 110 patients.
In November 2020, the DRDO received approval by the DGCI to conduct Phase-III trials which were held between December 2020-March 2021 at 27 hospitals across India on 220 patients. The results showed faster recovery in patients who took the drug as compared to those who followed just the Standard of Care (SoC). The use of oxygen in patients who took 2-DG declined significantly.