COVID-19 drug 2-DG launched: All you need to know
Dr. Reddy's Laboratories on Monday announced the commercial launch of COVID-19 drug 2-Deoxy-D-Glucose (2-DG). The drug has been developed by Dr. Reddy's in collaboration with the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS), a laboratory of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Dr. Reddy's said the drug will initially be available across hospitals in metros and Tier I cities.
Drug price capped at Rs. 990
"Dr. Reddy's will supply to major government as well as private hospitals across India. In the initial weeks, the company will make the drug available in hospitals across metros and Tier I cities, and subsequently expand coverage to the rest of India," the company said. It said the maximum retail price is capped at Rs. 990, while government institutions will be offered a discount.
How does the drug work?
The drug was already being studied as a potential cancer treatment as it can block the supply of vital glucose molecules to them. Researchers noted that it can help COVID-19 patients recover faster and reduce their dependence on supplemental oxygen. The drug was found to be able to selectively accumulate in virus-infected cells and stopping viral synthesis and energy production.
Drug was cleared for emergency use on May 1
Hence, 2-DG was repurposed as an adjunct therapy to treat COVID-19 patients. In April 2020, INMAS-DRDO in collaboration with the Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, observed that the drug is effective against SARS-CoV-2. Phase II, Phase III, and late-stage trials followed and the drug was approved for emergency use in COVID-19 patients on May 1.
Drug can be taken orally; only for moderate-severe cases
The drug—which comes in a powder form—can be consumed orally by dissolving it in water. It should be prescribed as early as possible to moderate-severe COVID-19 patients for up to 10 days, according to the DRDO. Pregnant/lactating women and patients under 18 years should not take it, while people with uncontrolled diabetes, severe cardiac problems, ARDS, severe hepatic and renal impairment should bear caution.
Drug to be administered only to hospitalized patients on prescription
The drug can be administered only upon prescription to hospitalized moderate to severe COVID-19 patients under the supervision of a qualified physician as an adjunct therapy to the existing standard of care, Dr. Reddy's said.
2-DG yet another addition to our COVID-19 portfolio: DRDO Chairperson
Dr. Reddy's Chairperson Satish Reddy said in a statement, "2-DG is yet another addition to our COVID-19 portfolio that already covers the full spectrum of mild to moderate and severe conditions and includes a vaccine." "We are extremely pleased to have partnered with DRDO in our collective fight against the COVID-19 pandemic," the statement further added.