Zydus Cadila has received restricted emergency use approval from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) to use the antiviral drug Virafin for the treatment of moderate COVID-19 infections.
According to reports, Virafin, technically referred to as Pegylated Interferon alpha-2b, showed clinical and virological improvement in moderate COVID-19 cases. Meanwhile, Cadila Health said one dose of Pegylated Interferon Alpha-2b, ‘Virafin’ showed clinical and virological improvement in moderate COVID-19 cases. It said the treatment significantly reduces the hours of supplemental oxygen in the patients.
Zydus has claimed that “91.15% of patients treated with PegIFN were RT-PCR negative by day 7”, the report added.
The country, as per the last update issued on April 23, reported 3.32 lakh new cases and 2,263 more deaths. ZyCoV-D has to be given in three doses, which adds complexity in terms of distribution and administration.
Meanwhile, The death toll increased to 1,86,920 with a record 2,263 new fatalities. The country recorded a single-day rise of 3,32,730 new cases, the data updated at 8 am showed.
Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI) approves emergency use for Zydus Cadila’s Pegylated Interferon alpha-2b, ‘Virafin’ for treating moderate #COVID19 infection in adults. pic.twitter.com/bXBvHZaIBp
— ANI (@ANI) April 23, 2021
What is Zydus Cadila?
Zydus Cadila, a leading Indian Pharmaceutical company is a fully integrated, global healthcare provider. Firstly, Virafin had shown lesser need for supplemental oxygen. Secondly, it was able to control respiratory distress and failure which has been one of the major challenges in treating Covid-19.
The drug was originally approved for liver disease Hepatitis C and launched in India 10 years ago. It is being repurposed to treat COVID-19.
During the trials, a higher proportion of patients administered with PegIFN arm were RT PCR negative by day 7.
The drug ensures faster viral clearance and has several add-on advantages compared to other anti-viral agents.
The findings are in line with recently reported importance of early IFN treatment in the treatment of Covid-19 (Lu et al, Signal Transduction and Targeted Therapy (2021) 6:107)- a Nature publication.