Rajnath launches DRDO's anti-COVID drug 2-DG
New Delhi, May 17, 2021
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh released the first batch of the adjunct COVID therapy anti-COVID drug, 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG), developed by the Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO), and handed it over to Minister for Health & Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan here today.
One box each of the sachets of the drug was handed over to Director, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Dr Randeep Guleria and Lt Gen Sunil Kant of Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS). More will be handed over to different hospitals across the country for emergency use.
An anti-COVID-19 therapeutic application of the drug 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) was developed by the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS), a lab of DRDO, along with Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL), Hyderabad.
The Defence Minister congratulated the DRDO and DRL, Hyderabad for manufacturing the drug that will help the COVID patients to reduce oxygen dependency and recover quickly. He described the drug as a perfect example of the country’s scientific prowess and a milestone in the efforts towards self-reliance.
“2-DG drug is a new ray of hope in these challenging times,” he said, expressing confidence that the medicine will play a crucial role in winning the fight against COVID-19.
He said the development and production of the drug was a shining example of a public-private sector partnership to help the nation in these challenging times. He said when the situation improves, he would personally like to honour the scientists who played a major role in the development of the drug.
Rajnath Singh asserted that the Government was continuously monitoring the situation and had taken effective steps to meet the requirement of oxygen supply, medicines & ICU beds in hospitals across the country through collective efforts of concerned Ministries/departments under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He pointed out that the oxygen supply in the country has been substantially increased to more than 9,500 metric tonnes (MT) per day from around 4,700 MT at the start of May.
He commended the DRDO for setting up medical oxygen plants at various hospitals across the country under PM CARES Fund, besides constructing COVID hospitals, with ICU, oxygen and ventilators, in Delhi, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Varanasi and Gandhinagar.
Work was in progress to set up similar hospitals in Haldwani, Rishikesh, Jammu and Srinagar. He also appreciated the passion of retired AFMS doctors who have answered the nation’s call and joined the medical fraternity in providing medical care to the needy.
He underlined the important role being played by the Armed Forces in assisting the civil administration to tide over the current situation. The Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Navy (IN) were working tirelessly to transport oxygen tankers, containers, concentrators and other critical medical equipment from within the country and abroad. He also highlighted the expansion of treatment facilities at military hospitals which were now being provided to civilians as well.
He reiterated the Government’s resolve to provide medical care to every citizen, saying the Prime Minister has directed officials to conduct door-to-door testing, equip ASHA & Anganwadi workers with all the necessary tools and provide all facilities in remote areas. He urged all the stakeholders to walk shoulder to shoulder in the country’s ongoing fight against the pandemic, expressing confidence that the country will emerge victorious against this invisible enemy.
“We will not be at ease. We will not be tired. We will keep fighting and win against COVID-19,” he emphasised.
Rajnath Singh also referred to the preparedness of the Armed Forces, saying that while they were providing support to the civil administration in fighting the second COVID-19 wave, they have not let their guard down.
In his address, Dr Harsh Vardhan termed 2-DG as an important development by the DRDO and DRL that will reduce the recovery time and oxygen dependency in COVID-19 patients. He expressed the hope that the drug will go a long way in defeating the virus in not just India but across the globe. He congratulated the DRDO and its scientists for playing an important role in the fight against COVID-19.
Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Chairman, DRDO Dr G Satheesh Reddy expressed confidence that the anti-COVID drug will help the patients recover from the deadly virus and that DRL, Hyderabad will take it forward and soon make the drug available for the patients.
Joining the event virtually, Chairman, DRL Kallam Satish Reddy said, “Dr Reddy’s is glad to have partnered with DRDO and INMAS in the development of 2-DG. This is a reaffirmation of our company’s efforts to address COVID through a host of therapeutics and vaccine.”
Secretary (Health& Family Welfare) Rajesh Bhushan and DG Health Services Dr Sunil Kumar were also among the dignitaries who attended the event. Besides Chairman, DRL, Director, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology Dr Rakesh Mishra and many doctors, hospitals and labs across the country joined the event virtually.