Carrying out Phase III trial of antiviral drug Umifenovir was approved by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)-constituent lab CSIR-Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI) in Lucknow, India.
This drug Umifenovir acts by preventing entry of the virus into human cells and also by priming the immune system. As India’s Ministry of Science and Technology said, the drug has a good profile.
Normally, Umifenovir is mainly used for the cure of influenza and is available in China and Russia. Amid the coronacrisis, the drug has recently come into prominence due to its potential use for COVID-19 patients, Indo-Asian News Service reports Friday.
“CSIR’s constituent lab CSIR-Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI) Lucknow, has received permission for carrying out Phase III randomised, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled trial of efficacy, safety and tolerability of antiviral drug Umifenovir,” Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has commented on the commencement of trial.
Clinical trials will be carried out at King George’s Medical University (KGMU), Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Institute of Medical Sciences and ERA’s Lucknow Medical College and Hospital, Lucknow.
The Indian ministry added that it has developed the process technology for Umifenovir in record time and licensed the economical process technology for manufacturing and marketing the drug to M/s. Medizest Pharmaceuticals Private Ltd. Goa, who have already received a test license from DCGI.
Umifenovir can be a safe and affordable drug against COVID-19
While Umifenovir is able to kill viruses, this drug has the potential for prophylactic use. According to Professor Tapas Kundu, head of CSIR-CDRI, all the raw materials for the drug are indigenously available and if the clinical trial is successful, Umifenovir can be an efficacious drug against the novel pathogen. Later, it even could become a part of India’s National Program against covid.
Dr Shekhar Mande, DG-CSIR highlighted that this clinical trial is an integral part of the CSIR strategy of repurposing drugs for Covid19 and complimented the team of scientists of CSIR-CDRI.
The clinical trial application was processed on high priority as per the DCGIs initiative against COVID-19. The next steps of the trial are being fast-tracked to enable the availability of the drug to Indian patients as soon as possible.