Mumbai docs try Biocon and Roche's biologic drugs on critical Covid cases - (Business Standard via NewsPoints Desk)

  • Business Standard reported that Roche and Biocon have joined the race to roll out a drug to combat COVID-19, noting that while Roche's rheumatoid arthritis drug Actemra, marketed by Cipla, is being tried to prevent extreme inflammation in serious COVID-19 cases, Biocon is said to be repurposing its psoriasis drug itolizumab.

  • The two biologic drugs are being tested on critically ill patients in Mumbai's Nair Hospital and King Edward Memorial Hospital. Reports suggest that two patients who were administered Actemra have shown "decent recovery" and could be taken off ventilators, while another was given itolizumab.

  • Itolizumab was developed and launched by Biocon in 2013 in India under the brand name Alzumab to treat moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis.

  • Meanwhile, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals is set to start clinical trials this month for the antiviral drug favipiravin on mild-to-moderate coronavirus patients, while Strides Pharma Science is also applying for approval for the medicine in India.

  • Cadila Healthcare is also gearing up to start clinical trials of interferon alfa-2b, a biosimilar used to treat hepatitis C, with trials slated to start sometime this month. Zydus has also approached the Indian government to investigate the role of pegylated interferon alfa-2b for COVID-19, the news source said.

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