Pharmaceutical company Dr Reddy’s Laboratories on Monday announced the commercial launch of oral anti-coronavirus drug 2-deoxy-D-glucose, or 2-DG. The Defence Research and Development Organisation has developed the drug in collaboration with Dr Reddy’s.

In a statement, the pharmaceutical firm said that it will supply the drug to governments and private hospitals, beginning with metro and tier-1 cities. The coverage will subsequently be expanded across the country, it said.

The company has fixed the price of the drug at Rs 990 but will sell them to government institutions at a subsidised rate. “2-DG is yet another addition to our Covid-19 portfolio that already covers the full spectrum of mild to moderate and severe conditions and includes a vaccine,” Satish Reddy, the chairperson of Dr Reddy’s said. “We are extremely pleased to have partnered with DRDO in our collective fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.”

On May 1, the Drugs Controller General of India had given approval for emergency use to 2-DG for the treatment of moderate to severe coronavirus patients. The Ministry of Defence had said the drug developed from the molecule 2-deoxy-D-glucose, also called 2-DG, has been permitted to be used as an adjunct therapy. This means that 2-DG can be used along with the primary treatment given to Covid-19 patients.

A statement released by the defence ministry said that 2-DG can be easily produced and made available in plenty in the country as it is an analogue of glucose, meaning it has a similar structure to the compound. Glucose is commonly known as simple sugar.

The statement said that the drug comes in the form of powder and can be taken orally. The drug accumulates in the virus-infected cells and prevents their growth. “Its selective accumulation in virally infected cells makes this drug unique.”

The Phase 3 results showed that 42% of patients improved symptomatically and became free from supplemental oxygen dependency by day 3 in comparison to 31% given the standard care treatment.

Meanwhile, India reported 46,148 new coronavirus cases on Monday, taking the total number of infections since the outbreak of the pandemic in January 2020 to 3,02,79,331. The country’s toll rose by 919 to 3,96,730. India’s tally of active cases stood at 5,72,994, while the number of recoveries reached 2,93,09,607.

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