COVID-19 innovation

The Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the nation’s premier institution under the union ministry of Defence, tasked with spearheading defence research and innovation has yet again proved itself to be a crucial part in India’s Covid-19 challenge. 

We are all aware of the devastating impact of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in India in terms of overwhelming the healthcare system while shocking the entire nation with its ferocity. As a consequence, help and support have come in from all sides, both domestically and globally to help Indians put up a strong fight against this contagious infection. Images and stories of numerous countries, Indian diaspora, grassroots organizations, NGOs and individuals coming to each other’s rescue, have been glimmers of hope and have reassured us all of the strength of collective efforts in these tough times. 

Domestically too, India has mobilized its entire resources and strength, including the entire government machinery, to address the challenges posed by the pandemic. As one of the foremost institutions of the Indian government, the scientists at DRDO have been at the centerstage of setting up temporary and permanent hospitals, Covid care centres and enhancing healthcare infrastructural capacities across the country

Marking another major feat in its efforts against the coronavirus, the DRDO recently developed an oral anti-Covid drug, 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2DG) in a collaborative effort of Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS) and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL) based in Hyderabad. The drug was approved earlier this month by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for emergency use as an adjunct therapy to treat moderate to severe patients affected by Covid-19. 

To expedite public accessibility of this potentially transformative medicine, the Union Defence and Health Ministers officially launched the first batch of this drug on 17th May 2021 while thanking and commending the efforts of the scientific community, particularly at DRDO in making this possible within a short span of time. 

The medicine has been launched as a sachet in a powdered form and is to be administered to the patient orally by dissolving it with water. As per the union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoH&FW), during its clinical trials, the drug has demonstrated a reduced supplemental oxygen dependence and an accelerated recovery process for affected patients. It has also been noted by the Ministry that on many parameters, patients administered the 2DG drug recovered faster and showed higher levels of symptomatic cure than the ‘Standard of Care’ (SoC) being followed currently. This is quite significant considering the huge numbers of severe Covid-19 patients requiring medical oxygen and long hospital stays during this ongoing wave. 

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