Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is the founder of Biocon

Biocon has become the talk in the world of science as it has done what numerous companies around the world have been trying to achieve since the onset of the pandemic. A drug by the name 'Itolizumab' has received approval from the Drug Controller of India (DGCI) to be used during emergencies.

Amid the times when the world is hoping for a chance against the virus, the drug shows promise. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw the force behind Biocon said that it shows promise and will help put India at the helm of global innovation. 

Itolizumab to fight COVID-19? 

Itolizumab (ALZUMAb) may sound like a new drug in the market, but it's actually been around for a long time. It was launched in 2013 meant to fight Psoriasis a chronic skin disease by Biocon. It has been used for that purpose since it received approval. 

The anti-CD6 monoclonal antibody will now be used to combat COVID-19 in emergency situations to fight the 'cytokine release syndrome' in ARDS- Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome in patients. The cytokine release can lead to autoimmune functions and a shut down in the system, and ultimately death. 

Coronavirus patient in hospital
Medical workers wearing personal protective equipment take care of a patient suffering from the coronavirus at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital in New Delhi, India, May 28, 2020.Courtesy: REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

The drug has now received clearance from DGCI to be administered under regulation to COVID-19 patients in emergency situations. Biocon held clinical trials on 30 patients suffering from ARDS. The clinical trials showed promise. While the sample size has been questioned by experts, the drug has still shown some room for optimism.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw talks cautiously about the drug

In a conversation with YourStory Kiran Mazumdar Shaw who is leading Biocon spoke about the drug. However, she said there's caution necessary while discussing it as well. She said, "This is a promising drug and I don't want people to get carried away because these are early days yet. And you know these drugs are very very complex drugs and the disease itself is so complex, that we must understand what we are doing. How are we using it and what are the kind of patients who will benefit from this drug, etc."

Live Love Laugh Foundation, kiran mazumdar shaw, deepika padukone, tllf, ngo, indian ngos, bollywood actor deepika
Kiran Mazumdar ShawBy special arrangement

However, she said that this would definitely be an opportunity for India to be on the global map on innovators, and show the scientific bent of mind Indians possess, she said in the interview. It is yet to be seen how the drug will fare in practice outside of trials.