Coronavirus – Disease, Medical Sciences Involved & Preventive Measures

Emergency use nod for Virafin

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Type 1 interferons

Mains level : Paper 2- Emergency use approval of Virafin

About the drug

  • It is used in treating people with chronic hepatitis B and C. 
  • The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) granted emergency use approval for pharma major Zydus Cadila’s antiviral drug ‘Virafin’, to treat moderate COVID-19 disease in adults.
  • When administered early on during COVID, Virafin will help patients recover faster and avoid much of the complications.
  • It significantly reduces viral load when given early on and can help in better disease management.

Findings of the clinical trials

  • A single dose subcutaneous regimen of the antiviral Virafin [a pegylated interferon alpha-2b (PegIFN)] will make the treatment more convenient for the patients.
  • When administered early on during COVID, Virafin will help patients recover faster and avoid much of the complications.
  • In the phase-3 trials, the drug was able to achieve “better clinical improvement in the patients suffering from COVID-19”.
  • A “higher proportion (91.15%) of patients administered the drug were RT-PCR negative by day seven as it ensures faster viral clearance”.
  • The drug reduced the duration for supplemental oxygen to 56 hours from 84 hours in moderate COVID-19 patients.

How the drug works

  • Type I interferons are the body’s first line of defence against many viral infections.
  • In old people, the ability to produce interferon alpha in response to viral infections gets reduced, which might be the reason for higher mortality.
  • The drug when administered early during the disease can replace this deficiency and help in the recovery process.
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