Coronavirus | India to join WHO’s COVID-19 trials

World Health Organisation  

India is all set to join World Health Organisation’s “Solidarity trial” aimed at rapid global search for drugs to treat COVID-19. The country has stayed away so far from this multi-country trial “due to its small sample size and because our contribution would have looked minuscule,” said Head of Epidemiology and Communicable diseases at Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) R. Gangakhedkar on Friday.

The Solidarity Trial will test four different drugs or combinations — remdesivir, a combination of two drugs, lopinavir and ritonavir, the two drugs plus interferon beta, and chloroquine — and will compare their effectiveness to what is called standard of care, the regular support hospitals treating COVID-19 patients use now.

Speaking of where India stands in terms of developing a drug or vaccine against COVID-19, Dr. Gangakhedkar said: “We have to prioritise what we need right now to deal with the situation. ICMR is currently looking at re-purposed drug molecules to find treatment for COVID-19. We don’t have the luxury of time right now.”


He added that vaccine development wasn’t a priority for ICMR currently. “There are 30 vaccine groups that are operational worldwide right now looking at COVID-19, with five having gone into animal-toxicity study. India will express its interest to participate in the trial for the Indian population when we feel the time is right,” said Dr. Gangakhedkar.

Speaking about importing probes and rapid testing kits, he said out of the 3.4 million probes ordered from Germany and WHO, five lakh have come in already.


“But this flow doesn’t affect our testing right now. Some delays are happening in getting the probes but there is no situation that there will be less tests,” said Dr. Gangakhedkar.

He added that the country is getting testing kits from across the world including China. “We are trying to get suppliers,” he noted.

Meanwhile the Medical Technology Association of India (MTaI), which represents research-based medical technology companies, in a statement released on Friday, said while the Centre has expeditiously moved to exempt Medical Devices and Equipment manufacturing, warehousing and distribution from the lockdown, the implementation rests with State governments and local level administrators that has been clamping down on manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, of medical devices and equipment.

“Transport trucks carrying these vital preparatory materials are stuck at city and state borders. The manufacturing and warehousing staffs, though armed with copies of the exemptions, are hitting a wall explaining to police and local bodies,” said the Association.

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Printable version | Aug 2, 2021 3:09:56 AM |

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