ICMR sits on proposal to try Rs 5 arthritis drug in Covid cases | India News

May 25, 2020

CHENNAI: The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is sitting on a proposal for a clinical trial of an affordable and time-tested anti-inflammatory arthritis drug that has the potential to prevent thousands of deaths due to Covid-19.
Indomethacin has been used to prevent cytokine storm – an abnormal immune reaction that kills Covid-19 patients – in people with other health conditions. The drug costs Rs 5 a capsule, while Tocilizumab, a drug now used to treat cytokine storm, costs Rs 60,000 per dose.
C hennai-based kidney transplant surgeon Dr Rajan Ravichandran, who used indomethacin on his transplant patients first in 1989 to prevent cytokine storms, wrote to ICMR and its counterparts in the US and the UK on April 29 suggesting a clinical trial. While the UK department of health wrote back saying the proposal has been forwarded to its Therapeutic Taskforce, ICMR is yet to act on it.
I CMR director general Dr Balram Bhargava told TOI that the council has received about 185 such proposals. “ICMR, along with department of science and technology, department of biotechnology and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research are looking into them one by one,” he said.
I n the US, meanwhile, doctors have found the drug to be effective in some 60 Covid-19 patients, often better than hydroxycholorquine. Dr Jonathan Leibowitz, a primary care physician in Brooklyn, who used indomethacin on his patients in an email to TOI , said indomethacin “seems to have a clear positive effect and needs further investigation,” and indicated it was not being given the importance it deserve s.
Dr Ravichandran said it could be used on Covid-19 patients as a repurpose drug, but a largescale clinical trial is imperative, given the affordability and the promising results several studies on the drug have shown.
Full report on www.toi.in

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