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Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) constituent lab CSIR-Central Drug Research Institute(CDRI) Lucknow has received Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) approval for carrying out Phase III randomised, Double blind, Placebo controlled trial of efficacy, safety and tolerability of antiviral drug Umifenovir.

The Phase III Clinical Trials will be carried out at King George’s Medical University (KGMU), Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Institute of Medical Sciences (RMLIMS) and ERA’s Lucknow Medical College & Hospital, Lucknow, the department of science & technology said in a statement.

“This drug has a good safety profile and acts by preventing entry of virus into human cells and also by priming the immune system,” said the statement.

To evaluate its efficacy in Indian patients, CSIR-CDRI has taken up the clinical trial. Further it has developed the process technology for Umifenovir in record time and licensed the economical process technology for manufacturing and marketing the drug to M/s. Medizest Pharmaceuticals Private Ltd. Goa, who have already received test license from DCGI.

“All the raw materials for the drug are indigenously available and if the clinical trial is successful, Umifenovir can be a safe, efficacious, affordable drug against COVID-19 and can be part of National Program against COVID-19,” Tapas Kundu, Director CSIR-CDRI, said.

“This drug has the potential for prophylactic use, he said.

The clinical trial application was processed on high priority as per the DCGIs initiative against covid-19. The next steps of the trial are being fast tracked to enable the availability of the drug to Indian patients as soon as possible.

“This clinical trial is an integral part of the CSIR strategy of repurposing drugs for Covid19 and complimented the team of scientists of CSIR- -CDRI NilanjanaMajumdar, Ajay Kumar Srivastava, Chandra Bhushan Tripathi and Nayan Ghosh, who were coordinated by Dr. Ravishankar Ramachandran, Nodal Scientist,” Dr Shekhar Mande, DG-CSIR said.

The formulation and documentation team included P.R. Mishra, V. Bhosale, RK Tripathi and S. Sharma of CSIR-CDRI.

Meanwhile union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan on Thursday launched India’s first mobile I-Lab (Infectious disease diagnostic lab) for covid-19 testing for last mile testing access.

“It will be deployed in remote, interior and inaccessible parts of the country and have capability to perform 25 covid-19 RT-PCR tests/Day, 300 ELISA tests/day, additional tests for TB, HIV etc. as per CGHS rates,” said the government.

The Infectious Disease Diagnostic Lab (I-LAB) is supported by the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology, under the Covid Command strategy.

During the last 24 hrs, 7390 COVID-19 patients were cured. A total of 1,94,324patients, so far, have been cured of covid-19 taking the recovery rate to 52.96%. Currently, 1,60,384 active cases are under medical supervision.

The number of government labs has been increased to 699 and private labs has been increased to 254 (A total of 953).

In the last 24 hours, 1,65,412 samples were tested. The total number of samples tested thus far is 62,49,668.

The number of covid-19 cases increased to 367959 on Thursday and the death rate increased to 12252. The deaths are continuously increasing in the country.

“The death toll will keep climbing as the virus spreads and given India’s large population,” said Dr Ramanan Laxminarayan, director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy

“The overall mortality rate has been low because of the relatively small proportion of the population that is over 60. Going forward, the focus should be firmly on the elderly population and those with comorbidities to keep mortality relatively low,” he said.

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