DRDO’s 2-DG drug approved for the treatment of moderate to severe COVID-19 patients

The 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) drug developed by the DRDO was approved as an adjunct treatment option for patients of COVID-19

May 8, 2021

Two rounds of successful clinical trials were conducted on 110 subjects across 17 hospitals.

The drug, when administered, inhibits energy production and synthesis by the virus.

Patients with moderate to severe cases of COVID-19 can now access 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) treatment.

India’s treatment options for patients include Favipiravir, Remdesivir, Itolizumab, Tocilizumab and Hydroxychloroquine.

The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has approved the use of 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) drug, which has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), for emergency adjunct therapy purposes. The drug can be used to treat patients with moderate to severe cases of COVID-19, and has exhibited a higher rate of recovery across multiple parameters. An official statement stated that “The drug has been developed by DRDO lab Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences in collaboration with Dr Reddy’s Laboratories. It accumulates in the virus-infected cells and prevents virus growth by stopping viral synthesis and energy production” 

The drug underwent two phases of testing spread across 17 hospitals and 110 patients in total. The testing by the INMAS-DRDO and the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology revealed that  2-DG could inhibit the growth of the SARS COV2 virus.

The BMJ, a peer-reviewed medical trade journal, observes that the medicines used to treat COVID-19 in India include antiviral drugs like Hydroxychloroquine and Favipiravir as well as anti-inflammatory drugs like Itolizumab and Tocilizumab. Convalescent plasma therapy has also been utilized for treatment in 2020, and antivirals like Remdesivir have emerged as popularly recommended medication in 2021. 

Over the course of the ongoing pandemic, medical experts say that the SARS Coronavirus has mutated itself several times over and created multiple variants. Some of the variants include the D614G, K417N/T, E484K, N501Y which increasingly appeared to increase binding to ACE2 receptors. Other variants also included the B.1.351 or South African variant, B.1.1.7 or the UK variant, P.1 the Brazilian variant as well as California based variants like the B.1.427 and the B.1.429. 

In the Indian context, the N440K mutation has been added to the list of mutations to keep a watch on. Experts maintain that the virus is strengthened to evade human immunity if spike mutation has occurred.  Treatment options that strengthen patients’ immunity against newer strains of the virus are the need of the hour.