Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, one of India’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturers, commercially launched 2DG COVID-19 treatment today, starting with the bigger cities.
The drug, formulated by DRDO’s Institute of Nuclear Medicine & Allied Sciences in collaboration with Dr Reddy’s, is supposed to reduce the viral load in patients suffering from COVID-19.
The drug, 2-deoxy-D-glucose, is supposed to inhibit viral replication inside host cells. Net net, the drug is supposed to reduce oxygen dependence and hospital stay, and hasten the recovery process. It does not completely eliminate the virus by itself.
2DG is to be used only for hospitalized patients with severe or moderate COVID-19, and can be administered only under the supervision of a doctor.
The drug is expected to give some relief to patients who previously had to depend on hard-to-come-by drugs like remdesivir. Remdesivir, which is priced at around Rs 3000 per tablet, was selling for Rs 20,000 per tablet or more in India during the peak of the second wave of COVID-19 due to shortage.
Even though such drugs do not guarantee an elimination of the disease, they are considered life-savers when the patient’s oxygen level dips to dangerous levels. The administration of such drugs usually helps to bring up the oxygen levels to more sustainable levels, helping reduce the danger to the patient’s life.
2DG was announced more than a month ago, and is positioned as the first indigenously developed treatment for COVID-19 in India.
Dr. Reddy’s will supply to major Government as well as private hospitals across India.
“In the initial weeks, the Company will make the drug available in hospitals across metros and Tier 1 cities, and subsequently expand coverage to the rest of India,” the company said, adding that the drug has a purity of 99.5% and is being sold commercially under the brand name 2DG.
One sache of the powder costs Rs 990 and is mixed with water for oral administration.
Dr Reddy’s is also a supplier of Sputnik V, the Russian COVID-19 vaccine.