Wednesday Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) announced that potential antiviral agents, Remdesivir. Chloroquine / hydroxychloroquine. Lopinavir and Ritonavir and Lopinavir-Ritonavir with Interferon (ß1a) will be evaluated as part of the solidarity trial.
Besides Remdesivir, all three medicines are generic medicines and manufactured by Indian companies. Remdesivir is the new drug by US drug manufacturer Gilead. This week, the company voluntarily licensed three Indian companies to manufacture the drug to India and 126 low and middle income countries.
Lopinavir-Ritonavir combination is used to treat HIV, Choloroquine / Hydroxycholoroquine is anti-malaria drug, while Interferon (ß1a) is used to treat Hepitites C.
The Solidarity trial launched by the WHO aims to quickly find out if any of the above drugs are slowing disease progression or improving survival of Covid-19 patients. This initiative is expected to provide speed and scale. In a statement, the ICMR said the Solidarity trial provides simplified procedures to allow even congested hospitals to attend.
The trial has begun to recruit COVID-19 patients in the country in nine locations. “The necessary regulatory and ethical approvals have already been obtained and clinical trial sites have begun to recruit patients in the trial,” said Sheela Godbole, senior researcher and national coordinator of the Solidarity Trial in India.
Through this collaboration, Indian researchers and institutions will participate in a global initiative to find effective treatment options for Covid-19, said Henk Bekedam, WHO’s representative for India, adding that the country plays a critical role in both research and manufacturing once trials successfully completed.