NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s 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 on Saturday.
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 South Asian 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. Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech’s COVAXIN has also been approved for trials.
(This story has been refiled to add dropped word “to” in headline, and in last paragraph drops reference to Itolizumab)
(Reporting by Aftab Ahmed; Editing by Rupam Jain and James Drummond)