The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), in collaboration with Laxai Life Sciences Pvt. Ltd, has initiated a Phase-II clinical trial of a repurposed anti-tapeworm drug for treating coronavirus disease (Covid-19), the Union ministry of science and technology announced on Sunday.
“CSIR in collaboration with Laxai Life Sciences Pvt. Ltd., has initiated Phase-II clinical trial with anti-helminitic drug Niclosamide for treatment of Covid-19. The trial is a multi-centric, phase-II, randomized, open label clinical study to evaluate efficacy, safety and tolerability of NIclosamide for the treatment of hospitalized Covid-19 patients,” the ministry’s statement read.
Niclosamide has been extensively used in the past for the treatment of tapeworm infection among adults as well as children. The safety profile of this drug has been tested over time and has been found safe for human consumption, it added.
The subject expert committee of the national drugs regulatory department, Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation, recommended the Phase II clinical trial using Niclosamide, which is generic, affordable drug, and easily available in India and therefore can be made available to Indian population.
Dr Ram Vishwakarma, advisor to director general, CSIR, said in a screen to identify drugs that can inhibit syncytia formation, Niclosamide was identified as a promising repurposed drug by a research group from King’s College London, which collaborated in the project.
“Based on successful clinical evidence generated during clinical trials in Indian studies, emergency use authorization may be sought so that more treatment options are available to COVID-19 patients,” said Dr Ram Upadhayaya, CEO, Laxai.