Coronavirus in Mumbai: BMC to try immunotherapy drug on critical patients
AFP

Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has now decided to start clinical trials of the drug Itolizumab on critical corona patients at the BYL Nair Hospital, a dedicated COVID-19 hospital.

This comes after a 35-year-old driver from Worli, with no underlying health conditions, was administered the drug at the King Edward Memorial (KEM) hospital on May 2. He had been admitted on April 27 and tested Covid-positive a day later and his condition began deteriorating ever since.

“The patient was on ventilator but after he was given Itolizumab, his condition began to improve. Currently, he is off-ventilator and doing well,” said Dr Hemant Deshmukh, dean, KEM hospital.

A drug manufactured by Biocon, Itolizumab has been ‘repurposed’ to fight Covid-19-related complications. The drug has been classified as a laboratory-produced molecule meant to serve as substitute antibodies that can restore or modulate the immune system’s attack on foreign cells.

Taking note of this, Nair hospital has decided to undertake clinical trials of this medicine. The BMC has also drawn up a list of 125 critically ill patients who could benefit from this drug. “We have received permission to start the trials from Thursday. But it will be administered only after checking the patient's health condition,” said Dr Mohan Joshi, head of Nair Hospital.

Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani said this drug would be given to all BMC hospitals treating critical-care patients. “KEM will be the principal hospital that will oversee the drug’s use. Our current focus is to prevent Covid-19 deaths in the city,” he said.

Meanwhile, the radiological analysis of critical corona patients at Nair within 24 hours after they were injected with Tocilizumab on May 2 has yielded good results.

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