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Health ministry decides against including Itolizumab in clinical management protocols for COVID-19

Considering the unmet medical needs in COVID-19, Itolizumab, an already approved drug of Biocon, used for treating psoriasis - a skin condition - was approved for 'restricted emergency use'.

Published: 26th July 2020 05:29 PM  |   Last Updated: 26th July 2020 05:29 PM   |  A+A-

A health worker arranges tubes containing swab samples in a tray for COVID-19 test at a medical camp Kasimedu fish market in Chennai Saturday July 25 2020. (Photo | PTI)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: The National Task Force on COVID-19 has decided against including Itolizumab drug in clinical management protocols for treating the disease even though the DCGI has approved its "restricted emergency use" in infected patients, official sources said.

Considering the unmet medical needs in COVID-19, Itolizumab, an already approved drug of Biocon, used for treating psoriasis - a skin condition - was approved for "restricted emergency use" in the treatment of coronavirus by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) recently.

The permission to market the drug was granted for the treatment of cytokine release syndrome in 'moderate' to 'severe' Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome patients due to COVID-19.

"The issue of including the drug in the clinical protocols was discussed in a meeting held on Friday. A majority of the members of the task force opined that there was not enough evidence currently to get the drug included in the clinical management protocols for COVID-19," said an official source.

A domestic biopharmaceutical company, Biocon, has been manufacturing and marketing Itolizumab, a monoclonal antibody, for the treatment of patients with moderate to severe chronic plaque psoriasis since 2013, under the brand name ALZUMAb, the Union health ministry had earlier said.

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