Today, Indian-based Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd. said it will start testing a combination of two antiviral drugs a new clinical trial to see whether it could help treat COVID-19, the infection caused by the new coronavirus.
The two antiviral drugs include favipiravir (Avigan) and umifenovir (Arbidol), which are prescribed to treat influenza.
The trial, which will take place in India, will enroll 158 hospitalized patients suffering from moderate COVID-19 infections, according to Glenmark.
Many pharma and biotech companies across the world are in a race to develop a vaccine or treatment to combat the fast-spreading coronavirus, which has so far infected more than 5.5 million people globally, killing over 347,000, according to Reuters.
India is now among the 10 most-affected nations, with officials reporting more than 145,400 cases and 4,172 deaths so far. In the United States, the virus has affected more than 1.7 million and killed over 99,000.
Favipiravir is developed by Japan’s Fujifilm Holdings Corp, which was approved for the treatment of flu in 2014.
Umifenovir is approved for the treatment of some types of influenza infections in Russia and China.
Glenmark has already been studying just favipiravir as a potential treatment for COVID-19 in India, with results expected by the end of July or early August. Favipiravir is also studied in other nations.
Headquartered in Mumbai, Glenmark said it had received regulatory approval from Indian drug bodies for the trial of the combination of favipiravir and umifenovir.
“The two antiviral drugs have different mechanisms of action, and their combination may demonstrate improved treatment efficacy,” Glenmark said.
Dr. Monica Tandon Vice President & Head Clinical Development Global Specialty/Branded Portfolio of Glenmark said, “Combining antiviral agents that have a good safety profile and act on different stages of viral life-cycle is an effective treatment approach to rapidly suppress initial high viral load and lead to an overall improvement in clinical parameters.” “We consider Glenmark’s study will be pivotal in leading to the identification of highly effective and safe treatments against COVID-19 in India,” she added.