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On Friday 23 April Drugs Controller General of India  (DGCI) approved the emergency use for Zydus Cadila’s Pegylated Interferon alpha-2b, ‘Virafin’ for treating moderate COVID-19 infection in adults.

According to Cadila Health, one dose of Pegylated Interferon Alpha-2b, ‘Virafin’ showed clinical and virological improvement in moderate COVID-19 cases.

The Ahmedabad-based pharmaceutical firm said 91.15 per cent of patients treated with PegIFN were RT-PCR negative by day 7. The treatment significantly reduces the hours of supplemental oxygen in the patients, it said.

“The fact that we are able to offer a therapy which significantly reduces viral load when given early on can help in better disease management,” Cadila Managing Director Sharvil Patel said. “It comes at a much-needed time for patients.”

The drug was originally approved for liver disease Hepatitis C and launched in India 10 years ago. It is being repurposed to treat COVID-19.