A team of scientists led by chief scientist Ravishankar is working on two combinations to provide the safest medication to coronavirus patients. Molnupiravur drug has received only Emergency Use Authorisation in India and abroad
Researchers from Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI), Lucknow have been working to develop another drug for Covid-19, apart from the ones recently developed by Merck & Co. and Pfixer Inc, which may not have any side effects.
Led by chief scientist Ravi Shankar, the institution is working on two combinations to provide the safest medication to those infected by Covid-19.
“Experts say that a combination of antivirals with different mechanisms can be more effective to counter the viral pandemic. We are working on two combinations – Umifenovir with Molnupiravir (an antiviral) and Umifenovir with Niclosamide (anti-parasitic),” he said in a news report in The Quint.
While Molnupiravir, developed by Merck & Co., was given Emergency Use Authorization in India and abroad, its usage showed reduced hospitalisation during clinical trials, its biggest drawback is the side-effects, he added.
“Now, we are trying to keep a low dosage of Molnupiravir in its combination with Umifenovir which may weed out the side-effects such as the risk of cartilage and muscle damage. If successful, it will make Umifenovir more effective in COVID-19 treatment,” Ravi Shankar said.
The other combination is Umifenovir with Niclosamide. Niclosamide is known for its efficacy for Covid treatment but the biggest challenge is that its high dosage is required for treatment and that leads to side-effects. A safe and efficacious combination of Umifenovir with Niclosamide is being researched on and exact dosage in the combination that can give positive results, Ravishankar said in a news report in TOI.
CSIR – Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow is one of the premier research institutes of India which were envisioned by the National leaders much before the independence of our nation to drive and lead the technological independence. Dedicated in the service of nation on 17 February 1951, as a constituent laboratory of Council of Scientific & Industrial Research, India, our Institute has evolved into a unique R&D organization possessing end-to-end expertise for fundamental chemical and biomedical research driven new drug discovery and development. Apart from the new drug development, the Institute is richly contributing to the advancement of our understanding of disease biology in the areas of national priorities, and set-off revolution of Indian pharma sector over the past 70 years.
At present, we are having highly promising pipeline of leads for diseases including Thrombosis, Osteoporosis, Malaria, Leishmania, Microbial infections, Dyslipidemia and Colon and breast cancer, viral diseases. Several of these are in advance stages of development and should be seeing the light of the day soon. For most of these promising molecules / phytopharmaceuticals, we are in touch with industry and clinician. Recently, we have received permission from Phase I clinical trial from DCGI for a promising anti-thrombotic lead S007-867, while IND is being prepared for another promising fracture healing lead S007-1500. Besides these, scientists at CSIR-CDRI have several promising discoveries at least some of which will surely going to be the reality in very near future.
Sound academia is the base of every innovation. To achieve that goal, several academic programs have been initiated recently in the Institute, which include ‘Popular Health Talk’ by eminent clinician, lecture by an outstanding scientist / technologist under ‘CDRI Scientific Lecture series’, ‘Nobel symposium’ by Research Scholars and ‘Faculty Colloquium’ on life time achievements by an outstanding scientist of our Institute.
Modern drug discovery is an integration of multidisciplinary fundamental science to produce innovative solutions for human health problems. Complexity of drug
discovery is challenging both scientifically and technologically. Knowledge frontiers are advancing exponentially across the globe in related scientific disciplines from chemistry to disease biology and clinical science. However, we still face significant challenges both at a scientific as well as at technological level. We believe that networking and linkages are going to be powerful tools in achieving our goals. The Institute is looking to re-establish a strong linkage with Industries and Academia in a mutually benefitting way. In this direction, we have initiated interactions with several major biopharma industries, prestigious Institutes including IITs, IISERs, NIPERS etc for initiating joint programme in drug discovery. In addition, our academic outreach initiative connects us to prominent researchers in several major Academic Institutes and Universities through collaborative random screening for new drug discovery through National Repository of Organic Compounds. I take this opportunity to invite more industries and researchers from academics and research institutions to join the venture.
In the coming years, Institute would like to focus unmet as well as unaffordable medical needs of the nation, including re-emerging parasitic & infectious diseases and those diseases which Indian population is bracing due to changed life style. Envisioning the healthcare challenges for India 20 years from now, Institute has taken up the initiative to venture into newer and most relevant disease areas including viral infections, ageing biology and neurobiology in collaboration with clinicians. Institute is also envisaging to lead a PAN CSIR Cancer biology program focussing on women empowerment.
While Institute is poised to make strident progress in science & technology arena of the Nation, several of my colleagues are ardently contributing to the scientific social responsibilities program of the Institute, including Skill development, Jigyasa, and Social outreach programs with an aim to promote scientific culture, innovation and instilling the confidence in populace. In the coming years, Institute will expand the scope of these programs for much wider outreach.