Scientists in the Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI) in Lucknow are trying to develop another drug for Covid treatment without any side-effects.
A team led by chief scientist Ravi Shankar, is working on two combinations to provide the safest medication to coronavirus patients.
“Experts say that a combination of antivirals with different mechanisms can be more effective to counter the viral pandemic. We are working on two combinations – Umifenovir with Molnupiravir (an antiviral) and Umifenovir with Niclosamide (anti-parasitic),” he said.
Molnupiravur drug has received only Emergency Use Authorisation in India and abroad. Though its usage showed reduced hospitalisation during clinical trials, its biggest drawback are the side-effects, he added.
“Now, we are trying to keep a low dosage of Molnupiravir in its combination with Umifenovir which may weed out the side-effects such as the risk of cartilage and muscle damage. If successful, it will make Umifenovir more effective in Covid-19 treatment,” said the chief scientist.
The other combination is Umifenovir with Niclosamide.
Niclosamide is known for its efficacy for Covid treatment but the biggest challenge is that its high dosage is required for treatment and that leads to side-effects.
A safe and efficacious combination of Umifenovir with Niclosamide is being researched on for the exact dosage in the combination that can give positive results, he added.
CDRI director Prof Tapas Kundu said: “CDRI is working round-the-clock to develop drugs that can help in treating all variants of Covid-19, besides being economical and safe for people. We have achieved a major breakthrough with Umifenovir and are hopeful of developing a new drug to win the pandemic battle.”