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India Pharma Giant Cipla and CSIR-IICT to Join Hands to Create Anti-coronavirus Drugs

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IICT director S Chandrasekhar said that due to artificial intelligence and advanced computational and mathematical models, it is not difficult to narrow down to the chemical compounds required for the drug.

Indian pharmaceutical giant Cipla has offered to immediately manufacture three promising chemical compounds with anti-viral properties to treat COVID-19 and has sought the help of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) to make Active Pharma Ingredients (APIs) for the same.

According to a report by The Hindu, IICT director S Chandrasekhar and principal scientist Prathama S Mainkar on Tuesday said that Cipla chairman YK Hamied has requested them to start preparing the chemical compounds — Favipiravir, Remidesivir and Bolaxavir — so that his pharma-biotech firm can start the next phase of trials, regulatory authority approvals and subsequent mass production of the anti-viral drugs “at any cost”.

Dr Chandrasekhar and Dr Mainkar said several anti-viral drugs were discovered in the past few years but were halted after clinical trails due to lack of demand. IICT scientists had narrowed down to about 15 such compounds which had passed toxicology reports and the above three are in that category.

“Favipiravir and Remidesivir have already undergone clinical trials and hence we will not require much time to make them as the raw materials are readily available. It could take about six to 10 weeks to make them. We had proactively started making the molecules in our modern Kilo lab with scientists working in two shifts. Process to start Bolaxavir molecule will begin now,” they said.

The director explained that due to artificial intelligence, deep data mining and advanced computational and mathematical models, it is not difficult to narrow down to the chemical compounds required. “We will be making about 100gm each to begin with. Cipla will follow it up with bio-equivalence tests on dogs and human trials before approaching the regulatory authority to manufacture the drug to cure coronavirus,” he said.