The drug Itolizumab, which Cuba has reported as a potential treatment to avoid Covid-19 deaths, may be India’s next bet against the coronavirus. The drug will be exposed to clinical trials at six hospitals. The Itolizumab monoclonal antibody is a molecule that began to be developed in collaboration with the Center for Molecular Immunology (CIM) in a joint venture of leading Indian drug maker Biocon. CIM is an center of cancer science situated on the western side of Havana, Cuba. Biocon, however, licensed the drug as an early-stage product to CIM, and the company’s research team started researching the autoimmune disease antibody in India in 2006. Later, the medication was approved for sale in India for Plaque Psoriasis in 2013 under the brand name ALZUMAb after positive trials with patients.
Biocon has now received approval from the Indian drug regulator to reuse the drug for Covid-19. The organization will test the drug ‘s effectiveness with a “anti-CD-6 IgG1” monoclonal antibody in mild to serious patients with Covid-19 complications. “Itolizumab has been used in India for several years and its protection has been developed,” said Dr Sandeep Athalye, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Biocon Biologics. “Our collaborators in Cuba, with whom the company started to develop the drug, used this drug in patients with Covid-19.
“The medication prevents the development of proinflammatory cytokines, contributing to acute respiratory distress syndrome and multi-organ failure in Covid-19 patients,” he said. “We think the ‘cytokine hurricane,’ which is a Covid-19 complication, may be treated with Itolizumab. Drug trials are to be performed in New Delhi , Mumbai and Bangalore. According to the government portal Clinical Trial Registry of India (CTRI), the selected sites in New Delhi are the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital. Narayana Health will run the trials in Bengaluru, and the trials will be performed at Bangalore, KEM Hospital, BYL Nair Charity Hospital and Dr Balabhai Nanavati Hospital.