Biocon Ltd has received regulatory approval for its drug Itolizumab to be used on coronavirus infected patients suffering from moderate to severe respiratory distress, the biopharmaceutical company said in a statement yesterday.
The drug, which is also used to cure the skin disease psoriasis, was cleared by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for usage in India.
“The randomised control trial indicated that all the patients treated with Itolizumab responded positively and recovered,” said Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, the firm’s executive chairperson.
The control group which did not receive Itolizumab unfortunately suffered deaths, she said, adding that the “first-in-class” drug will save lives and help reduce the mortality rate in India.
Clinical studies involving the drug are being closely watched as nations look for treatments for the disease that has infected over 820,000 people and killed over 22,000 in India.
India recorded 27,114 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours.
The country’s coronavirus case tally has made it the nation with the third-biggest outbreak, behind only the United States and Brazil in confirmed infections.
The DGCI earlier this month approved pharmaceutical firm Zydus Cadila to start phase one and phase two human clinical trials of its Covid-19 vaccine.
Itolizumab is the second vaccine to gain approval after Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech’s COVAXIN.
In other developments, Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi yesterday underwent a Covid-19 test to create public awareness in his constituency.
He visited the Nizamia General Hospital near the historic Charminar to give his samples for testing.
“Got my antigen & RT PCR tests done for Covid-19 today. My antigen test results were negative. There are 30-odd centres in the south of Hyderabad where antigen testing is being conducted, I encourage all of you to get tested,” he later tweeted.
The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president also urged people especially those with chronic illnesses, pregnant women, cardiac, cancer and dialysis patients to get tested at the earliest.
Owaisi stated that ‘hysterical and untruthful’ stories about Covid government hospitals in Telangana were creating a false picture in the minds of many and preventing them from seeking timely treatment.
In Jharkhand meanwhile, Chief Minister Hemant Soren and his wife Kalpana Soren were tested for the coronavirus yesterday.
According to a press statement, the sample of officials and staff working in the chief minister’s office were also collected for the Covid-19 test.
The chief minister said more people should get tested, especially those with symptom of the infection.
It would not only facilitate their early treatment, but also help contain the spread of infection, he said.
Soren had recently come in contact with Mithilesh Thakur, Drinking Water and Sanitation minister, and Mathura Mahato, a Jharkhand Mukti Morcha legislator, who tested Covid-19 positive.
Following this, the chief minister had isolated himself.
In Chandigarh, the Shiromani Akali Dal yesterday demanded a probe by a central agency or a sitting high court judge into a fake Covid-19 report scam.
The Punjab government’s latest order to take back the inquiry from the Vigilance Department and entrust it to the police had shaken the faith of the people, the party said in a statement.
Bikram Singh Majithia, a former minister, said it was shocking that efforts were being made by Congress leaders to save tow medical facilities in Amritsar that committed a crime against humanity by declaring some people not infected as Covid-19 positive and keeping them with coronavirus patients at isolation centres with the sole aim of extorting money from them.
“This criminal act has sent shock waves in Amritsar. The people are expecting exemplary action against the guilty. The Vigilance Department was entrusted with the probe after the Amritsar police failed to make any headway in the case due to political pressure,” he said.
A case of attempt to murder has been registered against the Tuli Diagnoistic Centre, one of the medical facilities.
The authorities have also filed a case of fraud against the EMC Hospital, the second facility.
He said people were shocked that instead of taking the case to its logical conclusion efforts were being made to dilute it and give the guilty a clean chit.
“It’s being done at the behest of Congress leaders who have all along provided political patronage to owners of Tuli Lab and EMC Hospital and not allowed any arrest in the case,” he said.
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