The Drug Controller General of India (DCG) has approved India’s first clinical trials of an antiviral drug to be conducted by Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (Glenmark) in a search of finding a potential treatment for COVID-19, a highly contiguous disease caused by the coronavirus.
On Thursday, April 30, 2020, Mumbai-based drug maker, Glenmark said in a statement that it would start clinical trials of an antiviral drug, favipiravir on COVID-19 patients in India to examine the effectiveness of the drug in the treatment of the widespread disease.
Search of Coronavirus Vaccine Worldwide
Drugmakers across the world have been conducting a series of drug tests to develop a treatment or vaccine for the fast-spreading coronavirus that has killed over 220,000 people and paralyzed financial markets. Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) has convened an international conference on the coordination of drug researches and urged to share all findings of their research before finalizing the “winner” drug.
On Wednesday, a source reported the result of the clinical trial in China from Gilead Sciences Inc.’s (Gilead) experimental antiviral drug remdesivir showed that the drug was found to be effective and helped patients recovering more quickly from the coronavirus illness. Last month, a Chinese official told reporters that the drug, favipiravir, was found effective in helping the patients’ recovery with no side effects.
Favipiravir, which was approved for use as an anti-flu drug in Japan in 2014, is manufactured under the brand name Avigan by a unit of a Japanese company, Fujifilm Holdings Corp. (Fujifilm).
Glemark’s Test as India’s First COVID-19 Trials
Following the DCG’s approval, the Mumbai-based Glemark will be the first pharmaceutical company in India that allowed go-ahead to start clinical trials on COVID-19 patients in the country, which recorded its 1,000th coronavirus-related death on Wednesday. Moreover, shares of Glenmark Pharmaceuticals witnessed some gains and were trading up 4.8% at 0540 GMT.
Sushrut Kulkarni, executive vice-president for global R&D, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, said in a statement, “After having successfully developed the API (active pharmaceutical ingredient) and the formulations … Glenmark is all geared to immediately begin clinical trials on favipiravir on COVID-19 patients in India.”
A source explained that Glenmark would conduct the trial, which will last for a maximum of 28 days, of the drug favipiravir on 150 patients having mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in a randomized trial and the result will compare with patients from standard supportive care.
Meanwhile, another Indian pharmaceutical company, Strides Pharma Science Ltd. (Strides), said on Wednesday that it had developed and commercialized favipiravir antiviral tablets, and had applied to the authorities for conducting clinical trials.
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