By: Nandika Chand | Last Updated May 29, 2020
The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has given Sun Pharma the go ahead to start clinical trials with Nafamostat Mesilate, a pancreatitis drug, on COVID-19 patients. The drug giant has joined the growing list of pharmaceutical companies to conduct clinical trials to put a stop to the novel coronavirus.
The approval for pancreatitis drug came after a group of scientists at the University of Tokyo and Leibniz Institute for Primate Research in Germany discovered that it could suppress a protein that COVID-19 virus uses to enter human lung cells. South Korean researchers have also worked on Nafamostat’s efficacy, along with 23 other drugs, against the deadly virus.
Sun Pharma’s managing director Dilip Shanghvi said they are constantly evaluating potential targets that can be explored for treating COVID-19 patients. He said Nafamostat has the potential to inhibt virus entry at very low concentrations. “The drug has shown promising data against SARS-CoV-2 virus in vitro studies conducted by different groups of researchers in Europe, Japan and South Korea,” Shanghvi explained.
He revealed Sun Pharma plans to initiate the clinical trials at the earliest. “The company has already started manufacturing both – the active pharmaceutical ingredient and the finished product of Nafamostat in India using the technology from Pola Pharma, Japan.”
Various pharmaceutical companies around the world, such as Pfizer and Moderna, with their respective governments are racing to develop a vaccine and drug to treat and prevent the spread of COVID-19. With millions infected and hundreds of thousands dead, a successful vaccine is need of the power. And India is not far behind.