Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare chaired the 26th meeting of the high-level Group of Ministers (GoM) on COVID-19 here today. He was joined by Dr S. Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs and Hardeep S. Puri, Minister of Civil Aviation, Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of State for Ports, Shipping and
Waterways (I/C), & Chemical and Fertilizers, and Nityanand Rai, Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs. Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State, Health & Family Welfare joined the meet digitally.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan lauded the efforts of defence scientists and the leadership of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for launching India’s first indigenous drug 2-deoxy-D-glucose or 2-DG (developed by DRDO in collaboration with INMAS and Hyderabad based Dr. Reddys laboratories). The research efforts for the drug started in April 2020 and completed recently when DCGI gave it emergency use approval (EUA). The Minister informed the members that the drug has the potential to become a game changer in our response against COVID pandemic as it reduces the dependence of patients on oxygen administration and has the potential of getting absorbeddifferentially and in a selected manner. In the COVID infected cells, it inhibits virus synthesis and energy production for the process.
He noted that the Centre continues to help States under a ‘whole of government’ approach to tide over the Pandemic. 422.79 lakh N95 masks, 176.91 lakh PPE kits, 52.64 lakh Remdesivir injections and 45,066 ventilators were distributed among States/UTs.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan informed his colleagues that 17 new labs are going to be added to the INSACOG network to increase the number of samples screened and allow for more spatial analysis. The Network is presently served by 10 labs located at different corners of the country.