Over 50 Covid-19 candidates under clinical trials in India
Over 50 clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine have started in India as researchers globally look for ways to stop the ravaging pandemic. Data from the country’s clinical research directory shows that generic anti-viral, anti-cancer drugs, BCG vaccine, plasma therapy and Ayurvedic medications are being studied across 100 medical institutions and hospitals in the country for a potential cure for Covid-19. This is aside from the World Health Organisation’s Solidarity trial that has started in India for drug combinations such as lopinavir+ritonavir, Remdesivir and interferon beta- 1a.
While it is not known yet what the winning drug or drugs will look like, in India the top three treatment options that are being studied are use of hydroxychloroquine, plasma therapy and the BCG vaccine. Hydroxychloroquine/chloroquine (HCQ) is being studied in over 20 registered trials despite controversial data coming from observational studies on its efficacy. The drug is being studied as an intervention in moderate to severe Covid-19 patients and for its prophylaxis role in high-risk people such as healthcare workers. Over 500 people have been enrolled to study the effectiveness of HCQ as a treatment as well as prophylaxis.
The convalescent plasma therapy is second to HCQ in the number of registered trials. There are 10 studies on across 17 centres of India. The 80-year-old BCG vaccine is next in line – three trials are on in the country to see if the BCG vaccine and its modification recombinant BCG, works in protecting healthcare workers involved in Covid-19 duty as well as on patients who are at high risk.
Also under study is anti-cancer drug Imatinib, which has shown effectiveness in labs for diseases such as MERS and SARS corona. Researchers at All India Institute of Medical Science hypothesize that Imatinib, by inhibiting ABL 1 protein, can have inhibitory activity in SARSCoV2 infection. A 100-patient study will be done on Covid-19 patients with mild symptoms and will look at the reduction of viral load count. In the absence of any approved treatment for Covid-19 across the world, physicians and hospitals across the country are shifting their focus to search for existing drugs with even modest anti-viral or anti-inflammatory property that could fight the SARS-CoV2 virus.
“In a country like India, where we have several people getting infected and with low affordability, there is a need to look at drugs that are easy to scale and affordable,” said Supreet Deshpande, CEO of Novalead, a drug discovery firm. The Pune-based firm that looks at computational model to search for old drugs for new diseases is working on an anti-parasitic drug for Covid-19. Drugs such as Ivermectin, which is under the essential medicines list of WHO, are being studied at Max Hospital. Investigators wrote that the study rationale is to understand the effect of the drug on eradication of virus. This study aims to confirm the antivirus effectiveness of Ivermectin on the novel coronavirus than to explore its potential use in combating the Covid-19 pandemic.
Drugs such as Itolizumab used for psoriasis and Favipiravir used in treatment of flu, are also being studied for severe and moderate symptoms. Trial registrations have also come from Ayurvedic drug companies who have in total registered for 17 studies for different drugs as potential cure for Covid-19.
Source : economictimes.indiatimes