“A drug is here to treat the Covid-19.” That could be the best news that corona-hit world must be waiting and praying for at the moment. But, now only Hope is the vaccine to insulate us from this deadly virus. Still, it may not be very long to cross this tunne. At present, at least 70 clinical trials are in the progress across the world. Here are five developments that will give us a strong hope of beating the Covid-19.
Remdesivir, the leading candidate:
Remdesivir by Gilead Science is the frontrunner among all the trials. Every day, we are getting positive results and news on it. The latest report says that monkeys infected with COVID-19 that were treated with this and were shown to be in “significantly better health” than those who were untreated.
The new study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) said the amount of virus in the lungs of the monkeys who had received remdesivir was “significantly lower” than another group of monkeys who had received no treatment. Earlier reports also suggested the positive impact of the drug.
Solidarity Trial led by WHO:
The biggest and the largest trial for a vaccine is being spearheaded by the World Health Organisation under its Solidarity Trial programme. The multi-national initiative covers four drugs, including the remdesivir. As many as 45 countries including India are part of this programme and the funding involved.
The drugs under trial are remdesivir,lopinavir/ritonavir combined, lopinavir/ritonavir combined with interferon-beta, and hydroxychloroquine (or chloroquine). The initial reports are encouraging too.
Indian Push: Six companies in the fray
India has formed a high level task force to research on coronavirus and develop a vaccine, even as six companies are already into the task. The task force will also coordinate with international community on vaccine development process for coronavirus.
Cadila Healthcare (Zydus Cadila), Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech, Indian Immunologicals, Mynvax, and Biological E are working to vaccines. Serum Institute, which is working on two candidate drugs, is hoping to make the vaccine available by the second quarter of 2022. Zydus Cadila also has two candidates under development — a DNA vaccine and another a live weakened recombinant measles vaccine against Covid-19. Zydus was also the first Indian company to create a vaccine for swine flu in 2010. Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech’s vaccine candidate is expected to be in human trials by the fall of 2020.
Israeli Drug Makes progress
The first two patients who were treated with a new Israeli treatment for the novel COVID-19 after testing positive have shown significant improvement, with one of them even being removed from the intensive care unit (ICU) within days of treatment.
Israeli biopharmaceutical RedHill Biopharma Ltd. administered their experimental drug, Opaganib, in Israel for the first time last week. The first two patients treated, according to the company, have demonstrated significant improvement through clinical trial within mere days of treatment.
Another encouraging news is the trials in many countries involving convalescent plasma of the recovered patients. In India, the authorities have given permission to 99 applicants for the same.
The central drug regulator has given its go-ahead to a proposal by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for the clinical trial of convalescent plasma.
“It is to inform that in light of public interest the proposal of ICMR for conducting the said trial has been reviewed through the Subject Expert Committee in its meeting held on April 13 under accelerated approval process in light of the current prevailing situation of COVID-19 and based on the recommendation of the committee. The CDSCO has conveyed its no objection for conduct of the clinical trial subject to certain amendments in the protocol and various conditions under the Drugs and Clinical Trial Rules 2019,” the central drug regulator said in a notice.