A drug to treat coronavirus patients, developed by the (Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), has been “approved for emergency use” by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI). The announcement comes on a day that India recorded over 4 lakh new Covid-19 cases in a 24 hours period. There are over 37 lakh active cases in India now, and the total death toll has now crossed the 2.38 lakh mark. Cases continue to rise in states like Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, etc, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa has announced a complete lockdown across the state till May 24.
The announcement of this new drug, which is in powder form and is to be taken orally after dissolving it in water, may bring a ray of hope for many. According to PIB, the drug “2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG)” has been “developed by Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS), a lab of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), in collaboration with Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL), Hyderabad.” The official statement confirms that the drug’s clinical trial results show that it has helped in “faster recovery of hospitalised patients and reduces supplemental oxygen dependence” and lead to a complete recovery from Covid-19. The DCGI’s Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) permitted Phase-II clinical trial of 2-DG in COVID-19 patients in May 2020. The Phase-II trials were conducted from May to October 2020, and the drug was “found to be safe for use in Covid-19 patients” who according to the statement “showed significant improvement in their recovery”. The trial conducted on 110 patients and the Phase-III clinical trials in November 2020 were conducted on 220 patients between December 2020 to March 2021.
Meanwhile, according to Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan 1,70,841 COVID patients across the country are on ventilator support, and around 9,02,291 patients are on oxygen support. On Saturday, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare also announced that a positive Test for COVID-19 virus is “not mandatory for admission to a Covid-19 health facility. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has revised the national policy for admission of Covid-19 patients to various facilities. Hospitals under the Central and State Governments, Union Territory administration and private hospitals will now have to admit a patient showing signs of or suspected to have Covid-19 even if they do not have a positive report yet. Such patients are to be admitted to “the suspect ward” of the hospital. According to the ministry “no patient will be refused services on any count. This includes medications such as oxygen or essential drugs even if the patient belongs to a different city.”
A significant directive has been issued to all States & UTs to ensure prompt, effective & comprehensive treatment of #COVID19 patients#COVID_19 positive test report NOT mandatory to get admitted at COVID health facility
⬇️https://t.co/pN7w7tcBa0@PMOIndia @MoHFW_INDIA pic.twitter.com/bvujsMvE1d
— Dr Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan) May 8, 2021
However, the ground reality has shown that most hospitals are already full, especially ICU and ventilator supported beds, and many are still facing Oxygen shortages. The Supreme Court on Saturday, also set up a national task force that has been mandated to ensure streamlining of oxygen distribution
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