New Delhi: The first batch of the adjunct COVID therapy anti-COVID drug, 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG), was released by Defense minister Rajnath Singh and handed over to the Union minister for health and family welfare, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, in New Delhi on 17 May.
One box each of the sachets of the drug was handed over to the director of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Dr. Randeep Guleria, and Lt. Gen. Sunil Kant of the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS). More will be handed over to different hospitals across the country for emergency use.
2-DG has been developed by the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS), a lab of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), along with Hyderabad's Dr. Reddy's Laboratories (DRL). The drug will help reduce oxygen dependency of COVID-19 patients and recover quickly.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Singh said the drug was a perfect example of the country's scientific prowess and a milestone in the efforts towards self-reliance. "2-DG drug is a new ray of hope in these challenging times," he said, adding that the drug will play a crucial role in winning the fight against COVID-19.
Mr. Singh asserted that the government is continuously monitoring the situation and taking effective steps to meet the requirement of oxygen supply, medicines, and ICU beds in hospitals across the country through collective efforts of concerned ministries/departments. He pointed out that the oxygen supply in the country has been substantially increased to more than 9,500 Metric Tonnes (MT) per day from around 4,700MT at the start of May.
He commended DRDO for setting up medical oxygen plants at various hospitals across the country under PM Cares Fund, besides constructing COVID hospitals with ICU, oxygen, and ventilators in Delhi, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Varanasi and Gandhinagar. Work is in progress to set up similar hospitals in Haldwani, Rishikesh, Jammu, and Srinagar.
The Defense minister reiterated the government's resolve to provide medical care to each and every citizen of the country, and said the Prime Minister has directed officials to conduct door-to-door testing, equip ASHA and Anganwadi workers with all necessary tools, and provide all facilities in remote areas.
Meanwhile, health minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan hoped 2-DG will go a long way in defeating the virus in not just India but across the globe. He congratulated DRDO and its scientists for playing an important role in the fight against COVID-19.