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DCGI approves Zydus Cadila’s anti-COVID-19 drug Virafin for emergency use

By Priyanka Verma 
Updated Date
DCGI approves Zydus Cadila’s anti-COVID-19 drug Virafin for emergency use

The Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI) on Friday granted restricted emergency use approval to Zydus Cadila’s anti-COVID-19 drug ‘Virafin.’ Virafin, or Pegylated Interferon alpha-2b (PegIFN), will be used for treating moderate COVID-19 infection in adults.

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A single-dose subcutaneous regimen of the antiviral Virafin will make the treatment more convenient for the patients. When administered early on during COVID-19, Virafin will help patients recover faster and avoid much of the complications, the company said.

In a release, Cadila Health highlighted that “the drug has also shown efficacy against other viral infections.”

When administered early on for COVID-19 infections, Virafin will help patients recover faster and avoid many COVID-19-related complications. Virafin will be available only on the prescription of a medical specialist for use in a hospital or an institutional setup, the release said.

Zydus has said that in its Phase-III clinical trials, the drug had shown better clinical improvement in the patients suffering from COVID-19. During the trials, a higher proportion of patients — 91.15% — who were administered with PegIFN, were RT-PCR negative by day seven. The drug ensures faster viral clearance and has several add-on advantages compared to other anti-viral agents.

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Zydus added that in the multicentric trial conducted in 20 to 25 centres across India, Virafin had shown a lesser need for supplemental oxygen, clearly indicating that it was able to control respiratory distress and failure which has been one of the major challenges in treating COVID-19. The drug has also shown efficacy against other viral infections, the release said.

Earlier this month, on April 5, Zydus had sought DCGI approval for the use of Virafin for the treatment of COVID-19 symptoms.

Speaking on the DCGI granting emergency use approval for Virafin, Dr Sharvil Patel, Managing Director, Cadila Healthcare Limited said, “The fact that we are able to offer a therapy which significantly reduces the viral load when given early on can help in better disease management. It comes at a much-needed time for patients and we will continue to provide them access to critical therapies in this battle against COVID-19.”

The development and the nod from DGCI come at a time when India is combating the second wave of coronavirus.

The central government in one of its major announcements decided to administer COVID-19 vaccines to all age above 18 years.

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India recorded 3,32,730 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, the highest single-day spike since the pandemic broke out last year. India has crossed the mark of 3 lakh COVID-19 cases for two consecutive days now. This has taken the cumulative count of the COVID infection in the country to 1,62,63,695.

The country has recorded 2,263 new deaths due to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours. As many as 1,86,920 people have succumbed to the viral infection in India so far. There are 24,28,616 active COVID-19 cases in the country now.

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