The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) VG Somani on Friday approved Itolizumab, a drug used for treatment of a skin disease known as psoriasis, for ‘restricted emergency use’ in treating COVID-19 patients with moderate to severe acute respiratory distress.

As per reports, the approval for using the monoclonal antibody injection Itolizumab was given after its clinical trials on COVID-19 patients in the country were found to show some positive results.

A committee comprising of various medical experts from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) were of the view that Itolizumab was found to be satisfactory for treatment of cytokine release syndrome in COVID-19 patients.

Taking into consideration the various unmet medical needs in the treatment of COVID-19, Somani approved Itolizumabfor restricted emergency use for the treatment of ‘cytokine’ release syndrome in moderate to severe acute respiratory distress syndrome patients due to COVID-19.

Itolizumab that has been developed by Biocon was used for treatment of psoriasis for many years.

Written informed consent of each patient is required before the use of this drug.

The approval of the drug as a form of restricted emergency treatment for COVID-19 patients comes at a time when the number of coronavirus cases in the country is increasing at an alarming rate.

India’s COVID-19 tally crossed the eight-lakh-mark on Friday, just four days after the number of infections in the country had reached seven lakh.

With 27,114 fresh cases recorded in the past 24 hours, India’s total coronavirus cases has now reached 8,20,916.

The country also witnessed 519 deaths during the period, taking the total number of death count to 22,123.

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