The Drug Controller of India has allowed clinical trial of Favipiravir medicine, developed indigenously a CSIR laboratory, on coronavirus patients, Director General Shekhar Mande said on Friday (May 8).

He said the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT), Hyderabad has developed the technology to make the drug Favipiravir.

The technology has been transferred to a private company, IICT Director S Chandrashekar said.

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The company will now tie up with hospitals for clinical trials so that the drug could be tested on patients suffering from COVID-19. Approval from patients will be necessary as per the protocols, he said.

Mande said Favipiravir is used in countries such as China and Japan to treat influenza.

Whenever, a virus enters a cell, it tries to create multiple replicas. Favipiravir stops the replication process, he explained.

The CSIR has already tied up with Cadila Pharmaceuticals Ltd to evaluate Mycobacterium W (Mw) for faster recovery of hospitalised COVID-19 patients and minimise the spread of disease.

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Mycobacterium W can reduce mortality of patients suffering from Gram-negative sepsis by 50 per cent. Permission has been granted by the Drug Controller of India to conduct tests on critically ill COVD-19 patients at three major hospitals in the country, he said.

Mande said Mycobacterium W helps in boosting TH1 and TH2 cells, which in turn, builds immunity in fighting viruses and in this specific case the novel coronavirus.

Another drug that got the drug controller’s nod for clinical trials on COVID-19 patients is phytopharmaceutical.

As per a report in ANI, the CSIR is exploring a native herb as a biological medicine or phytopharmaceutical, which is already being tested as medicine for dengue for its efficacy to combat COVID-19.

“The CSIR is working with multiple renowned pharmaceutical companies and trying to see whether we can bring a certain solution to the market as an intervention against COVID-19. In this regard, few clinical trials have already been initiated in partnership with certain companies last night. The DCGI has given us approval for clinical trials of two drugs so we will soon begin with it. Phytopharmaceutical is essentially a herbal medicine extracted from plants,” he told ANI.

Speaking about favipiravir, Mande said it is a safe drug and its trail is expected to be completed in about 1.5 months.

“It the tests are successful with the expected results, then this drug will be available soon at affordable prices. A big reason for this is that favipiravir is an old medicine the patent of which has now expired,” he said.

(With inputs from agencies)