Zydus Cadila's antiviral drug approved for treating moderate COVID-19 cases
The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) on Friday gave approval for the emergency use of Zydus Cadila's Hepatitis C drug "Virafin" for the treatment of moderate coronavirus infection in adults. A single-dose subcutaneous regime (injected under the skin) of Pegylated Interferon Alfa-2b can help improve a patient's condition and make the treatment more convenient, the company said. Here are more details on this.
'Virafin can help avoid much of the complications'
In its regulatory filing, the company said, "When administered early on during COVID-19, Virafin will help patients recover faster and avoid much of the complications (sic)." The drug will be available on the prescription of a medical specialist for use in a hospital or institutional setup. It has also shown efficacy against other viral infections, the company added.
'Drug showed lesser need for supplemental oxygen'
In the multicentric trials conducted at 20-25 centers across India, Virafin showed a lesser need for supplemental oxygen, "clearly indicating that it was able to control respiratory distress and failure which has been one of the major challenges in treating COVID-19," the company said.
Patients tested negative by day 7, company says
Zydus further said, "In its Phase III clinical trials, the therapy had shown better clinical improvement in the patients suffering from COVID-19...The drug ensures faster viral clearance and has several add-on advantages compared to other anti-viral agents." About 91% of patients treated with the drug tested negative for COVID-19 by day seven, compared to nearly 79% who were given the standard care.
It can help in better disease management: Cadila MD
About the development, Dr. Sharvil Patel, Managing Director, Cadila Healthcare Limited, said, "The fact that we are able to offer a therapy which significantly reduces the viral load when given early on can help in better disease management." "It comes at a much-needed time for patients and we will continue to provide them access to critical therapies in this battle against COVID-19," Patel added.
COVID-19 situation in India
The development has come at a time when India continues to face a dreadful second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. In the last 24 hours, the country reported over 3.32 lakh COVID-19 infections - the highest single-day surge for any country in the outbreak. 2,263 more deaths took the death toll past 1.86 lakh. India currently has more than 24 lakh active coronavirus cases.