The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on Tuesday said its anti-Covid drug, 2-deoxy-D-glucose or 2-DG, can be given to patients under the care and prescription of doctors as it issued directions for its use. “Ideally, 2DG should be prescribed as early as possible by doctors for moderate to severe COVID patients for a maximum duration of up to 10 days,” DRDO said.
Patients of uncontrolled diabetes, severe cardiac problem, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), severe hepatic and renal impairment have not been studied yet with 2-DG, and hence caution should be exercised, DRDO said. It added that 2-DG should not be given to pregnant and lactating women and patients below 18 years.
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“Patients and attendants are advised to request the hospital to contact Dr Reddy’s lab Hyderabad for medicine supply at email: 2DG@drreddys.com,” the organisation said in a tweet.
The oral drug 2-DG, developed in collaboration with Hyderabad-based Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL), was approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) on May 8 as an adjunct therapy – one that supplements regular treatment – for Covid-19. On May 18, defence minister Rajnath Singh launched DRDO’s 2-DG, calling it “a new ray of hope in these challenging times” even as experts called for more scientific data.
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The 2-DG drug comes in powder form in the sachet and has to be dissolved in water. The drug works by accumulating in virus-infected cells and prevents virus growth by stopping viral synthesis and energy production. According to the Union home minister, the Covid-19 drug reportedly reduces a patient’s average recovery time by two and a half days and oxygen demand by upto 40 per cent.
2-DG has been used as a possible cancer therapy for decades as research has shown that it hampers cell growth by blocking cellular glucose supply, leading to its use as a tumour therapeutics. The hypothesis in its use in treating Covid-19 is that it could impair replication of Sars-Cov-2 by a similar mechanism of action. It has still not been approved for regular cancer therapy.
Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL) has said that DRDO’s anti-Covid-19 drug will be sold at ₹990 per sachet that it will provide the medicine to Centre and state government at a discounted price.