The Indian multinational pharmaceutical company Sun Pharma has commenced a phase II clinical trial on the plant-derived drug AQCH to test its efficacy and safety in COVID-19 patients.
The phytopharmaceutical drug has been derived from a tropical, scandent shrub Cocculus hirsutus, which is used in Asia for its apparent medicinal properties. The drug which shows a broad-spectrum antiviral property has been developed to treat dengue.
The company has received the approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for conducting the trial on AQCH against COVID-19 in April.
The research will be conducted across 12 centres in 210 patients from various states including Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad which had shown exponential incidences of COVID-19. The duration of the treatment for the patients will be 10 days and the results are expected by October, 2020, the pharma firm said.
The clinical trial is being conducted in association with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT).
“ AQCH has shown anti-SARS-CoV-2 effects in in-vitro studies conducted in collaboration with DBT-International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), Italy. These results, combined with information on the mechanism of action through in-vitro and small animal studies, give us the confidence to evaluate this potential treatment option for COVID-19 patients.” averred Dilip Shanghvi, Managing Director, Sun Pharma, in a statement.