India Biocon obtains authorization to use drug on coronavirus patients


NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India Biocon Ltd has received regulatory approval for its drug Itolizumab for use in patients infected with coronaviruses suffering from moderate to severe respiratory distress, the biopharmaceutical company said on Saturday in a statement.

© Reuters / Bazuki Muhammad
FILE PHOTO: President and CEO of India, Biocon Ltd, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, speaks at Forbes Global CEO conference in Kuala Lumpur

The drug, which is also used to cure psoriasis from skin conditions, has been approved by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for use in India.

“The randomized controlled trial indicated that all of the patients treated with Itolizumab responded positively and recovered,” said Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, the company’s executive president.

The control group who did not receive itolizumab unfortunately lost their lives, she said, adding that the “first in class” drug will save lives and help reduce the death rate in India.

Clinical studies involving the drug are closely monitored as countries seek treatments for the disease that has infected more than 820,000 people and killed more than 22,000 in India.

India has recorded 27,114 cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours. The count of coronavirus cases in the South Asian country made it the country with the third largest epidemic, behind the United States and Brazil for confirmed infections.

DGCI approved pharmaceutical company Zydus Cadila earlier this month to begin Phase One and Phase Two human clinical trials of its COVID-19 vaccine. COVAXIN from Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech has also been approved for testing.

(This story has been re-recorded to add the word “to” in the title, and in the last paragraph removes the reference to Itolizumab)

(Report by Aftab Ahmed; Editing by Rupam Jain and James Drummond)

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