DCGI clears Vivafin, drug may ease respiratory distress in COVID patients

Multiple trials proved patients who were administered Virafin needed less supplemental oxygen and showed less respiratory distress and failure, a significant problem observed during the second wave of COVID

Pharma major, Zydus Cadilla, has claimed that over 90% of adult COVID patients treated with the drug for seven days tested negative after RT-PCR test.

COVID patients’ desperate need for oxygen can be reduced significantly by Zydus Cadila’s anti-viral drug ‘Virafin’, which has got emergency use approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI).

Multiple trials showed that patients who were administered Virafin needed less supplemental oxygen and showed less respiratory distress and failure – a significant problem observed during the second wave of COVID-19. Zydus Cadila says that the probability of a COVID patient recovering in seven days, after the administration of ‘Virafin’, is 80.36 per cent. In comparison, existing treatments guarantee complete recovery in only 68.18 per cent cases.

The pharma major has claimed that over 90% of adult COVID patients treated with the drug for seven days tested negative after RT-PCR test. ‘Virafin’ is a Pegylated Interferon alpha-2b drug, which is to be administered in a single dose subcutaneous (under the skin) regimen.

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The company conducted multiple trials in 20-25 centers across the country to conclude that early administration of ‘Virafin’ helps patients recover faster, besides reducing respiratory distress.

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Dr Sharvil Patel, Managing Director, Cadila Healthcare Limited, said, “The fact that we are able to offer a therapy which significantly reduces viral load when given early on can help in better disease management.”

‘Virafin’ acts as body’s first line of defence

Deficiency of Interferon Alpha — the body’s first line of defence against infections — has been seen as a major reason for weak bodily response to coronavirus. ‘Virafin’, when given in the early stages of COVID infection, stands guard in the absence or deficiency of Interferon Alpha. As a result, a good number of patients who were administered ‘Virafin’ tested negative for the infection by the seventh day, shows phase III clinical trial data, which have been published in the Nature journal titled ‘Lu et al, Signal Transduction and Targeted Therapy (2021) 6:107’.

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Ageing affects the body’s ability to produce Interferon Alpha in response to viral infections weakens. “The drug ensures faster viral clearance and has several add-on advantages compared to other anti-viral agents,” says Zydus Cadila.

The medicine will now be available in hospitals/institutional setups on medical prescription.

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