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Pharma majors shift focus to inhalants, nasal spray for Covid

By Sohini Das
August 30, 2021 17:55 IST
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While Lupin is working on a Remdesivir powder for inhalation, Glenmark has tied up with a Canadian Biotech firm for nitric oxide nasal spray that reduces Sars-CoV-2 viral load and thus transmission.

IMAGE: Kindly note that this image has been posted for representational purposes only. Photograph: PTI Photo.

After injectables and oral solid drugs, pharmaceutical companies are focusing on coming up with re-purposed inhalation products for Covid-19.

 

While Lupin is working on a Remdesivir powder for inhalation, Glenmark has tied up with a Canadian Biotech firm for nitric oxide nasal spray that reduces Sars-CoV-2 viral load and thus transmission.

Remdesivir, an antiviral drug developed by American drug major Gilead for Ebola, was repurposed for Covid-19. The drug was in such demand during the first and second waves of the pandemic that massive shortages and spiralling black-market prices were reported.

Mumbai-based drug major Lupin has now got approval from the subject expert committee (SEC) advising the drugs regulator to conduct Phase 2 clinical trials for Remdesivir powder inhalation. Lupin had presented a proposal to conduct Phase 2 and 3 studies for Remdesivir powder for inhalation before the SEC.

Lupin did not respond to the queries sent.

The inhaled version of Remdesivir, which is now available only in intravenous injectable form, could be cheaper. Remdesivir roughly costs from Rs 800-1,000 a vial to Rs 3,500 a vial varying across brands. Each patient needs at least six vials for a full course. Moreover, a dry powder inhaler would also deliver the drug directly into the lungs, the affected organ.

Meanwhile, another Mumbai-based firm Glenmark has tied up with Canadian biotech firm SaNOtize to manufacture, market, and distribute its nitric oxide nasal spray (NONS) for Covid-19 treatment in India and other Asian markets.

The SEC has allowed Glenmark to start Phase 3 trials of the product with conditions that anyone vaccinated with Covid-19 should be excluded from the disease.

A Glenmark spokesperson said NONS is designed to kill coronavirus in the upper airways, preventing it from incubating and spreading to the lungs. “It is based on Nitric Oxide, a natural nano molecule with proven anti-micr­obial properties, and which has a direct effect on SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing Covid,” the spokesperson said.

In March 2021, SaNOtize’s clinical trials showed NONS was a safe and effective antiviral treatment that significantly reduced viral load in Covid-19 patients and reduced the severity of symptoms.

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Sohini Das in Mumbai
Source: source
 
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