Pharmaceutical company Hetero on Monday said that the Drugs Controller General of India has approved the emergency use of its version of the Tocilizumab drug for adult Covid-19 patients who have been hospitalised, The Indian Express reported.

Hetero Healthcare, an associate firm of the company will market the biosimilar version of Tocilizumab under the brand name Tocira, Hetero said in a statement, according to Reuters.

Biosimilar drugs are similar in structure and function to a biologic drug, in this case it is Tocilizumab.

“This approval is extremely crucial for supply security in India considering a global shortage of Tocilizumab,” Chairman of Hetero Group B Partha Saradhi Reddy said. “We will be working closely with the government to ensure equitable distribution.”

In June, the United States Food and Drug Administration had approved the use of Actemra, the brand name for Tocilizumab drug manufactured by pharmaceutical firm Roche, for emergency use in Covid-19 patients.

The drug reduces risk of death among patients hospitalised with severe Covid-19 symptoms, according to Reuters. It also shortens the recovery time in patients and reduces the need for ventilation.

Hetero’s Tocira will be made at the company’s Hyderabad manufacturing facility. The company said that it expected the drug to be available in the market by September-end.

In its statement, Hetero said that the drug could be used for treating Covid-19 in adults who receive systemic corticosteroids (anti-inflammatory drugs), and in those who require oxygen and ventilation support.