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5 COVID-19 treatment medicines being used in India

            The whole world is hard-hit by the pandemic COVID-19, and to add to the woes, there is no evidence-based tested antidote. The affected patients are being treated with the medicines earlier approved for the other viral infections. The treatment protocols are being revised from time to time, based on the emerging evidence and around 5 treatment drugs have received a nod from the government (or are in the final stages of the trials being carried out).

Here the treatment drugs presently available for countering coronavirus along with the information available about them:

1. Fabiflu

‘Favipiravir’, developed by Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, under the brand name Fabiflu, for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID patients. Global trials have shown 80-88% efficacy and several nations including Japan, UAE are using it for the purpose. It provides a rapid reduction in viral load within 4 days and provides faster symptomatic improvements. The 200 mg tablet is available in a strip of 34 tablets and is available through hospitals and retail channels. Favipiravir has been used in Russia, Japan, and China to treat such patients and has been proved successful.    

2. Tocilizumab:

Also known by the other name- atlizumab, it is an immunosuppressant drug developed by Roche pharma and the marketing responsibility undertaken by Cipla. To date, it was mainly used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. This drug is being tried on high-risk patients in several parts of the nation and at present, the drug is subjected to limited availability. Moreover, the use and efficacy of this drug suffered few questions in India as French drugmakers Sanofi and Regeneron of the US halted their clinical trials for it. 

3. Itolizumab;

In a landmark move, Indian firm Biocon got approval from Drug Controller General of India, to use their medicine, Itolizumab for treating COVID patients. The drug was already in the market for the treatment of a skin ailment, psoriasis. As coronavirus multiplies and progresses within the body, the immune system starts to overreact, the phenomenon known as a cytokine.  The drug’s ability to tone down the aggressive and self-damaging response of the body’s immune system got it linked with COVID treatment.         

As this calms the immune system, Itolizumab is supposed to be given in moderate to extreme cases, not in the early stages of viral attack. 

4. Cipremi:

Cipremi is Cipla Pharmaceutical’s own Remedesivir and will be commercializing it through its own facilities and partnered sites. The drug will be supplied through government and open market channels for a fair and equitable distribution. The medicine is in the form of lyophilized powder for injection but the pricing details are yet to be specified.    

5. Covifor

DCGI has given approval to the Hetero Drugs Limited for manufacturing its own version of Remedesivir under the brand name Covifor. It is granted approval for the suspect or laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19. It is also administered to persons hospitalized with severe symptoms. The drug is available in 100 mg injectable form to be administered through the intravenous route by/or under the supervision of a healthcare professional only. Six such doses of Covifor are supposed to be provided for patients infected with the coronavirus.     

 

Large demography world-wide has been tested positive for novel coronavirus infection and the numbers are only escalating. Scientists around the world are racing against time to find a cure and these are the main antidotes which we have found so far. Still, there is no approved sure-shot solution for the ailment, researchers, along with developing the new solutions, are also trying the older medications of the other conditions to check if they are also effective in treating COVID-19.