One of the best advantages of 2-Deoxy-D-Glucose (2-DG), a drug developed by the DRDO for the treatment of COVID-19 infection, is its effortless way of consumption. According to the Union Ministry of Defence, this drug is being manufactured in powdered form and can be used easily by dissolving it in water. The clinical trials of this drug were initiated in April last year and were completed in three phases by March this year. Recently, an application for approval of the use of this drug was made to the DGCI. After a thorough inspection, the DGCI has approved 2-DG for emergency use.
The Ministry of Defence said that 2-DG is a generic molecule that is similar to glucose. Therefore, it will be easier to produce the drug and it can be made available on a larger scale within the country.
According to the ministry, during the first wave of COVID-19 in April last year, DRDO scientists started testing this drug on the order of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The drug was found to be effective in a test conducted with the help of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad. Based on this, the Phase-II clinical trials were conducted on COVID-19 patients from May to October last year with the authorization of DCGI.
After Phase-II clinical trials, 2-DG was found to be completely safe. In the first phase of the first clinical trial, 110 patients were studied involving six hospitals in the country. Based on its results, the second and third phases of clinical trials were conducted between September and March. During this period, 220 patients were involved in the study which were admitted to 27 different COVID hospitals located in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
Despite the permission of the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), it may take up to a month to make the 2-DG drug available to COVID-19 patients. According to sources, the preparations to build mass production and distribution chain will take up to a month. To prevent hoarding, the central government is planning to make this medicine available in hospitals only through the respective district administration.
Unlike the first wave, the second wave of COVID-19 has shown severe dependence on oxygen in a large number of patients along with the need for hospitalization. Given the effect of the 2-DG drug in infected cells, it is expected to save a lot of lives. Furthermore, it will also reduce the hospital stay of infected patients.