Home/ Companies / News/  Covid-19: Sun Pharma begins phase 2 trial of its phytopharmaceutical drug

NEW DELHI: Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd on Friday said it has commenced phase-II clinical trial of AQCH, a phytopharmaceutical or a plant derived drug, for the treatment of covid-19. AQCH is the first phytopharmaceutical drug approved for clinical trials by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) as a potential treatment therapy for covid-19.

The clinical trial, Sun Pharma said, will be conducted across 12 centres in India in 210 patients. The treatment duration will be 10 days. The results of the clinical trial are expected by October. Human safety study of AQCH has already been completed and the drug has been found safe at the recommended dose for phase-II study, the pharma company said in a statement.

"AQCH has shown anti-SARS-CoV-2 effects in in-vitro studies conducted in collaboration with International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), Italy," said Dilip Shanghvi, managing director, Sun Pharma.

"These results combined with information on mechanism of action through in-vitro and small animal studies give us the confidence to evaluate this potential treatment option for covid-19 patients.".

AQCH, being developed for dengue, has shown broad antiviral effect in in-vitro studies and hence is being tested as a potential treatment option for covid-19.

Since 2016, Sun Pharma has been working closely with the Department of Biotechnology (DBT)-ICGEB, under Dr. Navin Khanna and Council of Scientific & Industrial Research-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (CSIR- IIIM) under Dr Ram Vishwakarma, to develop a phytopharmaceutical drug for dengue.

“This collaboration aligns with our scientific rationale for the quickest way to develop drugs against SARS-CoV-2," said Dr Shekhar C Mande, director general, CSIR.

The work on evaluation of plant-derived drugs for the treatment of dengue started in 2007 under the DBT’s Task Force on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants.

"Our efforts to develop a safe, effective and affordable drug against dengue started about 13 years ago. The collaborating team quickly initiated studies for the development of a drug against covid-19," said Dr Renu Swarup, secretary, department of biotechnology, ministry of science and technology.

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Updated: 05 Jun 2020, 01:31 PM IST
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