Pharmaceutical firm Zydus Cadila received emergency use approval from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) – country’s apex medicine regulator – on April 23 for the use of ‘Virafin’ in treating moderate COVID-19 cases.
Virafin, technically referred to as Pegylated Interferon alpha-2b, showed clinical and virological improvement in moderate COVID-19 cases, the company said, as per the CNBC-TV18 report.
Zydus has claimed that “91.15% of patients treated with PegIFN were RT-PCR negative by day 7”, the report added.
The treatment significantly “reduces the hours of supplemental oxygen in the patients”, the company was further reported as saying..
The reduction in usage of supplemental oxygen, as claimed by Zydus, could come as a relief to states who are struggling in the COVID-19 fight due to the stressed supply of medicine oxygen.
Several states across the country have raised alarm, with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal warning of catastrophic consequences if the oxygen supply is not stabilised at the earliest.
“We fear a big tragedy may happen due to oxygen shortage and we will never be able to forgive ourselves. I request you with folded hands to direct all CMs to ensure smooth movement of oxygen tankers coming to Delhi,” he said during the meeting,” Kejriwal said during the meeting of chief ministers with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 23.
Apart from medicine oxygen, a number of states have also claimed shortage of Remdesivir – the antiviral drug administered to some of the hospitalised COVID-19 patients.
Also read: Zydus Cadila’s Covid-19 vaccine: How it compares with peers, manufacturing capacities and challenges, explained
The emergency use approval of Virafin also comes amid a severe COVID-19 second wave in India, with an unprecedented surge seen in per-day count of infections. The country, as per the last update issued on April 23, reported 3.32 lakh new cases and 2,263 more deaths.