Hyderabad: The Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT), Hyderabad, has developed a cost-effective lab process to develop Favipiravir. The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has identified Favipiravir as a promising drug to treat COVID-19.

The IICT, which falls under CSIR, is transferring the technology to pharmaceutical giant Cipla for further production and sales. Cipla has requested approval from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) to use Favipiravir to treat COVID-19. The drug is currently used to treat influenza and is undergoing clinical trials to treat COVID-19 in countries like China, Italy, and Japan.

Cipla will have to conduct a clinical trial as per the rules of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) before marketing the product as Ciplenza. Before Favipiravir, CSIR had tested around 25 drugs.

Favipiravir is a broad-spectrum inhibitor of viral RNA polymerase and was first developed by Fujifilm Toyama Chemical Ltd. It has been used to treat common influenza and is marketed in Russia, China, and Japan.
This is not the first time Cipla and CSIR have joined hands. Many technologies for HIV generic drugs were made in CSIR labs and transferred to Cipla to produce affordable medicine and market it worldwide.

CSIR’s Central Central Scientific Instrument Organization (CSIO), Chandigarh, is also at the forefront of developing new technologies to support the country during the COVID-19 pandemic. It recently developed an aerosol canopy for dental procedures to protect dentists from infectious droplets during dental procedures.

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