DCGI approves psoriasis injection Itolizumab to treat COVID patients
New Delhi/IBNS: The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has approved the psoriasis injection Itolizumab, a drug used to cure skin ailment psoriasis, an auto-immune disorder, for "restricted emergency use" to treat COVID-19 patients having moderate to severe acute respiratory distress, media reports said.
Manufactured by Biocon, monoclonal antibody injection Itolizumab is an already approved drug. Considering the lack of treatment available for the varied complexities of COVID-19, the drug has been approved for the treatment of "cytokine'' release syndrome in moderate to severe acute respiratory distress syndrome patients due to COVID-19.
The approval has been given after conducting clinical trials by the expert committee comprising pulmonologists, pharmacologists and medicine experts from AIIMS to treat cytokine release syndrome in Covid patients, said reports.
Biocon Chairperson, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw told NDTV that the approval of Itolizumab for the treatment of Covid patients is a very positive development as it joins Remdesivir and other emergency use drugs for the treatment.
"It is a very unique biologic as it effectively addresses cytokine release and inflammatory markers in Covid patients," she added.
Talking about the development, she said, "When we looked at the hyperimmune activity in Covid patients we realised that Itolizumab is a very ideal candidate to treat this complication and we decided to conduct a trial... and I am really really pleased to see that it worked...all the patients in the trial responded and recovered."
"Psoriasis is also a disease caused by the hyper-immune activity of our body and that is why you see very very nasty rashes on skin and Itolizumab calms the immune system," she noted.
"The body releases cytokines in a very very big way when our immune system gets very active ...in Covid patients this cytokine storm is causing deaths. Itolizumab downregulates the immune system telling it not to release so many cytokines..and so this is a very very effective drug for modulating the immune system and saving the body from inflammation and preventing death," she said explaining the working of the drug.
The use of this drug is subject to written informed consent of each patient, the DCGI has said, reported media.