Zydus Cadila has received emergency use approval from the Indian regulator (DCGI) for the use of its anti-viral drug 'Virafin'. At a time when India's healthcare infrastructure is reeling under tremendous pressure, Virafin is being presented as a drug that can reduce the need for oxygen support and improve recovery time among moderate cases of Covid-19.
Pharma giant Zydus says 91.15 per cent of adult patients treated with Virafin tested negative for coronavirus using RT-PCR negative in seven days. A Pegylated Interferon alpha-2b drug, Virafin, is to be administered in a single dose subcutaneous (under the skin) regimen.
When administered early on during Covid-19, Virafin will help patients recover faster and avoid many complications, Zydus says. The pharma company also adds that Virafin will be available on the prescription of a medical specialist for use in hospital/institutional setups.
In the multicentric trial conducted in 20-25 centers across India, Virafin showed lesser need for supplemental oxygen, 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.
Speaking on the development, Dr Sharvil Patel, Managing Director, Cadila Healthcare Limited said, "The fact that we are able to offer a therapy which significantly reduces 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 with access to critical therapies in this battle against Covid-19," Dr Patel went on to add.
Virafin helps body cope with deficiency of Interferon Alpha
In its Phase III clinical trials, researchers found that a higher proportion of patients administered Virafin tested negative for the infection by the seventh day.
"The drug ensures faster viral clearance and has several add-on advantages compared to other anti-viral agents," says Zydus Cadila.
Virafin, when administered in the early phases of Covid-19, can replace the deficiency of Interferon Alpha in the body. Type-1 interferons are the body's first line of defence against a number of viral infections.
With aging, the body's ability to produce Interferon Alpha in response to viral infections weakens. This, says Zydus, can be associated with higher mortality observed among elderly Covid-19 patients.
Source: India Today