DRDO’s anti-COVID 2-DG drug launched. Will this ‘oral Made in India Drug’ work effectively against the virus?

The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has granted emergency use authorisation to 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) drug developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as an adjunct therapy in moderate to severe COVID-19 patients. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan on Monday released the first batch of this indigenously developed anti-COVID-19 drug.

The 2-deoxy-D-glucose drug is the first of its kind medicine in India meant to treat COVID-19 infections. The oral drug has been developed by DRDO’s Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS) in collaboration with Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories.

Although in recent times, multiple questions were raised regarding the effectiveness of several drugs including Hydroxychloroquine, Remdesivir, Ivermectin, but the 2-DG is the first in India that is being termed as an anti-COVID drug and DCGI has also allowed the emergency usage of the drug to treat COVID patients.

How will this oral drug work?

The innovative therapeutic drug is the first-ever ‘fully Made in India’ anti-COVID medicine, which works to stop the growth of virus in the body and reduce the patient’s need for external oxygen. The drug is a glucose analogue, which looks like glucose but actually is not. As the virus needs glucose for energy to multiply itself, the virus will take this drug which is a glucose analogue mistaking it as glucose. The drug will then hamper the growth of the virus and its capacity to multiply.

The drug basically accumulates in the virus-infected cells and prevents the growth of the virus by stopping viral synthesis and energy production. The drug’s capacity to selectively accumulate in virally infected cells makes this drug highly unique.

Apart from this, the drug has shown super effectiveness in clinical trials. The laboratory experiments carried out by scientists of INMAS-DRDO in collaboration with the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, found that the drug is effective against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the COVID-19 infection.

2-deoxy-D-glucose successfully completed its Phase 3 trials in November 2020 and stage trials were successfully carried out between December 2020 and March 2021.

Dosage & advantages of the drug:

The drug will be in a glucose form and therefore can be taken orally with water, twice a day. Also, a COVID-infected person needs to take this drug for about five to seven days in order to get completely cured.

Apart from this, being in a glucose form, it is very easy to produce this drug and therefore, it can be made available in large quantities within a small period of time.

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