Coronavirus – Disease, Medical Sciences Involved & Preventive Measures

What is Itolizumab, newly cleared for Covid?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Itolizumab

Mains level : NA

The Drug Controller General of India recently approved Itolizumab as a novel biologic therapy for restricted emergency use.

Various drugs in news these days are:

1) Remdesivir: Ebola

2) Lopinavir: HIV

3) Hydroxychloroquine: Malaria

What is Itolizumab?

  • Itolizumab is an existing drug used for psoriasis, a chronic skin disease involving unregulated growth of some skin cells that develop into red patches mostly on knees and elbows, but also on some other parts of the body.
  • The drug, developed by Bengaluru-based Biocon, was approved in 2013.
  • It is a monoclonal antibody which is used to treat acute psoriasis.

Why it is being used for COVD-19?

  • The coronavirus has been observed to induce an overreaction of the immune system, generating a large number of cytokines that can cause severe damage to the lungs and other organs.
  • Itolizumab is safe and efficient in preventing cardio-renal complications in Covid-19 patients who also have acute respiratory distress.

What are monoclonal antibodies?

  • Monoclonal antibodies are proteins cloned in the lab to mimic antibodies produced by the immune system to counter infection.
  • They have their genesis in serum, the colourless constituent of blood that contains antibodies.
  • These proteins bind to an antigen, the fragment of an infectious virus in the case of SARS-CoV-2, and either destroy it or block its action.

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