The Indian Health Ministry said on Friday that it is not satisfied with the efficacy of the anti-viral drugs Remdesivir and Favipiravir in the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
This statement comes after a joint-monitoring group, a technical committee, held a meeting at the Health Ministry to discuss the effectiveness of the drugs on COVID-19.
"The technical committee has not found these two antiviral drugs fit for the usage in the COVID-19 treatment because there is no concrete evidence to determine the efficacy of the drug", the committee told media.
The committee also said that they would only recommend hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as a prophylaxis of COVID in select individuals, adding that it has to be prescribed only by a registered medical practitioner.
While the anti-viral drug Remdesivir was initially developed as a treatment for Ebola, Favipiravir was a Japanese flu drug. Indian labs are in the process of cloning the US Gilead's Ebola drug and clinical trials were approved for Favipiravir. However, no requests have been put forward by any pharma firm for conducting clinical trials of Remdesivir.
India's apex medical research body the Indian Council for Medical Research stated on Thursday that it would fast-track the roll out of the World Health Organisation's solidarity trials - an international clinical trial that started on 18 March to try untested treatment options.
The trials consist of four untested treatment options, which include Remdesivir and chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine, the research unit told media in a statement.
Meanwhile, India's Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a government body, said on Thursday that as many as 10 vaccine candidates for the novel coronavirus are under development in the country.