The Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI) has received approval from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) approval for Phase-III clinical trial of Umifenovir, an anti-viral developed against influenza, on Covid-19 patients.
The trials will be carried out by King George’s Medical University, Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Institute of Medical Sciences and Lucknow Medical College & Hospital.
The CDRI, under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has received permission for carrying out Phase-III randomised, double blind, placebo controlled trial of efficacy, safety and tolerability of the antiviral drug.
Dr Shekhar Mande, DG, CSIR, highlighted that this clinical trial is an integral part of the strategy of repurposing drugs for Covid-19 and in total, 10 repuposed drugs are in various phases of trials.
Umifenovir is mainly used for treatment of influenza and has recently come into prominence due to its potential use for Covid-19 patients.
According to CDRI, this drug has a good safety profile and acts by preventing entry of virus into human cells and also by priming the immune system.
To evaluate its efficacy in Indian patients, CSIR-CDRI has taken up the clinical trial. It has developed the process technology for Umifenovir in record time and licensed the economical process technology for manufacturing and marketing the drug to Medizest Pharmaceuticals, Goa, which has already received test licence from DCGI.
Prof. Tapas Kundu, Director, CSIR-CDRI, said if the clinical trial is successful, Umifenovir can be a safe, efficacious, affordable drug against Covid-19 and can be part of National Programme against Covid-19.
Virus impacts brain respiratory centre
A team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, Kolkata, has suggested that Covid may infect respiratory centre of the brain.
The paper by researchers at the CSIR-IICB, published in ACS Chemical Neuroscience implies the virus may enter the brain through the nose and infect the primary centre of brain that controls respiratory rhythm generation.
The collapse of brain’s respiratory centre may be responsible for breakdown of COVID-19 patients.