Amid a rather devastating surge in fresh Covid-19 cases in the country, the Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI) on Friday, April 23, gave its approval to the emergency use of Virafin, a Hepatitis C drug manufactured by Zydus Cadila, to treat adult patients with moderate symptoms.
In an official statement, Dr Sharvil Patel, Managing Director, Cadila Healthcare Limited said, "The fact that we are able to offer a therapy which significantly reduces the viral load when given early on can help in better disease management. It comes at a much-needed time for patients and we will continue to provide them access to critical therapies in this battle against Covid-19."
What is Virafin?
In technical terms, Virafin is Pegylated Interferon alpha-2b, signaling proteins found in our bodies that act as immunological agents. This antiviral drug is administered via an injection.
Benefits of Virafin
The drug is shown to have helped COVID-19 patients, with mild symptoms, in recuperation. According to the claims of Zydus Cadila, Virafin will make COVID-19 treatment 'less cumbersome and more affordable.
Why was Virafin given the DGCI nod?
During the Phase-III trial of the drug, 91.15% of the COVID-19 patients who participated in the test recovered from the virus in just seven days after being administered with the first dose, claimed Zydus Cadila.
In fact, studies conducted in 2004 revealed that the drug is effective in the treatment of SARS, the first variant of coronavirus.
Where to buy Virafin?
As the drug has got the DGCI nod, it can now be sold at drug stores and other pharmacies. However, an individual will not be able to buy the drug over the counter. A doctor's prescription will be needed for the same. The decision has been taken to prevent misuse of the drug.