On May 8, 2020, The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) received approval from Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for its two clinical trial drugs- “favipiravir” and “phytopharmaceutical”- to combat coronavirus.Key Points:
i.Favipiravir: Favipiravir is a drug that is commonly used in Japan, China and some other countries, to treat influenza that has a very broad spectrum.
ii.Phytopharmaceutical: Phytopharmaceutical is essentially a herbal medicine extracted from plants. It is a cocktail of different compounds but has a biological origin from a plant.
iii.In the United States (US), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) terms it botanical, however, in India the DCGI calls it phytopharmaceutical.
iv.The CSIR is exploring a native herb as a biological medicine or phytopharmaceutical, which is already being tested as medicine for dengue for its efficacy to combat COVID-19.
v.ShekharMande, CSIR Director-General also informed that the drug trial will begin within a week. He also stated that CSIR has already been working with pharmaceutical companies for the solution to control COVID-19.
vi.In May 2016, a renowned pharmaceutical company and International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), Delhi, had signed an agreement to develop a botanical drug for treatment against dengue.
vii.Mande also added that we are already testing the efficacy of this medicine against dengue and it is in the advanced stage in phase-II human trials. Favipiravir is a safe drug and its trail is expected to be completed in about 1.5 months.
viii.If the tests are successful with the expected results, then this drug will be available soon at affordable prices. Favipiravir is an old medicine the patent of which has now expired.
CSIR was established by the Government of India (GOI) in September 1942 as an autonomous body that has emerged as the largest research and development organisation in India .
President– Shri Narendra Modi.
Vice President (VP)– Dr Harsh Vardhan.
Director-General– Dr Shekhar C. Mande.