On May 17, India launched the first batch of indigenous anti-COVID oral drug 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) developed by the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS), a lab of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The medicine, which is being considered a game-changer in the fight against Covid-19, was launched at an event by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan.
Speaking at the launch event, Dr AK Mishra, the director of INMAS, thanked Union Minister Rajnath Singh by reciting the famous doha (couplet) of the 15th-century Indian mystic poet and saint Kabir Das: “Guru Govind dou khade kaake lagoon paay, Balihari guru aapne, govind diyo batae” Roughly translated in English as “If both god and my guru (teacher) are standing before me, whom should I first greet. My guru for sure as he is the one who guided me and put me in the path of God”.
Dr AK Mishra, Director of INMAS, the @DRDO_India laboratory that developed anti-COVID19 drug 2-DG. He ably led the team that developed the medicine and recalled the days when he was the pupil of Raksha Mantri at its unveiling.— A. Bharat Bhushan Babu (@SpokespersonMoD) May 17, 2021
-clip courtesy: @DDNewslive #JanAndolan pic.twitter.com/wLNZGlS81m
Dr Mishra recolleteced how Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was his physics professor in KB Post-Graduate College Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh in the year 1988. He says he is honoured that he got the opportunity to learn from Rajnath Singh. “Yeh aap hi ki dharohar hain jo aapke samaksh prstut hain” (This is your heritage which we now put forth before you).
The scientist stated that he is honoured that his institute is now presenting a valuable scientific work in the form of the drug, through the hands of the very teacher who laid the foundations of his scientific education.
For the uninitiated, Union Minister Rajnath Singh grew up to secure a master’s degree in physics from Gorakhpur University and passed with first division score. Before becoming a politician, he was a lecturer of physics at the KB Post Graduate College. Singh had, basically, started his career as a physics teacher in Mirzapur college.
He then went on to become the Education Minister in the first ever BJP government in Uttar Pradesh and played a prominent role in introducing changes in the education system. Rajnath Singh was also involved in ordering rewriting of history textbooks. He got vedic mathematics included in the syllabus.
Union Minister Rajnath Singh launched the 2-DG drug
While launching the drug, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh called it a new ray of hope. “Developed by DRDO and DRL, 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) will prove effective against Covid-19. This is a great example of the scientific prowess of our country. I congratulate DRDO and all the institutions involved in the R&D of this drug, on my behalf,” said Singh.
2-deoxy-D-glucose or 2-DG is an oral anti-Covid-19 drug. The drug is expected to help hospitalised Covid-19 patients and reduce their supplemental oxygen dependence. According to DRDO officials, the 2-DG drug, like glucose, spreads through the body and reaches the virus-infected cells and prevents virus growth by stopping viral synthesis and destroying the protein’s energy production. The drug also works on virus infection spread into the lungs which help us to decrease the infected patient’s dependency on oxygen.
Since 2-DG is a generic molecule and analogue of glucose it can be easily manufactured in India and made available in plenty to the citizens.
The first and the second batch of 2-DG will be used in a limited manner. It will be used in AIIMS, Armed Forces Hospitals, DRDO hospitals and any other need which arises. From June 2021 onwards it will be made available to all hospitals.