DRDO new drug: What is 2-DG medicine and how it works explained

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The work started last year as the scientists carried out laboratory experiments showing that the molecule is working effectively against the virus- SARS-CoV-2, inhibiting its growth. (Representational Image)

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has produced a new drug that can be used to treat the novel Coronavirus. The anti-Covid-19 drug, 2-deoxy-D-glucose or ‘2-DG’ has been released in its first batch for select hospitals, after it received approvals from DCGI for emergency use. The drug will be administered in select hospitals and June onwards, it can be distributed to all hospitals to be used for treatment of moderate to severe Covid-19 patients. The Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS) in partnership with DRDO has produced 2DG.

How does 2-DG work?

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The government has cited that the molecule used in the drug helps Covid-19 affected patients recover faster and their dependency on supplemental oxygen is also reduced. The government claimed that the drug is expected to bring “immense benefit” to the affected patients. The drug, according to a report by The IE, accumulates in virus-infected cells of the body and prevents the virus growth. Because of this, viral synthesis as well as the energy production of the virus can be stopped. The property of only accumulating in virally-infected cells has made this drug unique.

2-DG clinical trials

The work started last year as the scientists carried out laboratory experiments showing that the molecule is working effectively against the virus- SARS-CoV-2, inhibiting its growth. The phase two clinical trials for this drug was permitted in May 2020 by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) in Covid-19 patients.

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The report said that the trials were conducted on 110 patients between May and October last year. This was done across six hospitals. After the success of the second phase, DCGI gave permission for phase 3 clinical trials in November 2020. The third phase of clinical trials was concluded in March 2021 where 220 patients were monitored across 27 Covid hospitals.

The trial data suggested the drug usage as safe for Covid-19 patients and these patients showed significant recovery. Looking at the efficacy of the drug, it was found that symptoms of Covid-19 patients were cured faster than “Standard of Care (SoC) on various endpoints.”

Advantages of 2-DG

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The government claimed that it is made of a generic molecule along with an analogue of glucose. Therefore, 2-DG can be easily produced as well as made available in large quantities. Also, since the drug comes in a powder form in a sachet, patients can consume it orally after dissolving in water.

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