IDRS Labs seeks emergency nod for plant-based drug against long covid

A tripartite Memorandum of Agreement was signed among BARC, ACTREC-TMC and IDRS to develop Chlorophyllin against COVID-19 disease and other indications

Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Advanced Centre for Treatment, Research and Education in Cancer – Tata Memorial Centre (ACTREC-TMC) and IDRS Labs (IDRS) announced the completion of Phase II clinical trial of Sodium Copper Chlorophyllin 750 mg tablets. The phase II clinical trial was a multi-centre, randomised, open-label, controlled trial of sodium-copper-chlorophyllin given along with treatment of physician’s choice versus treatment of physician’s choice in asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic patients with COVID-19.

A tripartite Memorandum of Agreement was signed among BARC, ACTREC-TMC and IDRS to develop Chlorophyllin against COVID-19 disease and other indications. The dossier is filed for ‘Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)’ for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 Infection (COVID-19) by IDRS to the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) as stated by Shivkumar Madki, Co-founder & MD of IDRS Labs.

The phase I clinical trial of Sodium Copper Chlorophyllin 750 mg tablets earlier conducted by IDRS Labs in healthy volunteers, indicated that it is safe and well tolerated. Sodium Copper Chlorophyllin 750 mg improved total white blood cell count and lymphocyte count in healthy human subjects and significantly reduced the blood biomarkers of oxidative stress and necrosis.

According to Dr Tapan Kumar Ghanty, Director, Bioscience Group, BARC Mumbai, the R&D work on Chlorophyllin was initiated at BARC more than 2 decades ago. Research on the repurposing of chlorophyllin as an anti-viral drug against the SARS-CoV-2 virus was started in March 2020. In silico studies carried out at BARC indicated that Sodium Copper Chlorophyllin inhibits the main protease (MPro) of the SARS-CoV-2 virus at sub-micromolar concentration, and it may also reduce the entry of SARS-CoV-2 in the target cells. Experiments using in vitro primary cells and in vivo Hamster model demonstrated that Sodium Copper Chlorophyllin significantly inhibited SARS-CoV-2 virus multiplication and decreased the lung viral load by 10-fold. Sodium Copper Chlorophyllin also reduced interleukin-6 expression in lymphocytes from SARS-CoV-2 infected hamsters.

Dr Vikram Gota, Professor and Head of the Department of Clinical Pharmacology at ACTREC-Tata Memorial Centre, Navi Mumbai, explained that Sodium Copper Chlorophyllin 750 mg tablets have a unique mechanism of action against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Sodium Copper Chlorophyllin has potent anti-viral activity against SARS-CoV-2 and it can also ameliorate immune dysregulation by suppressing pro-inflammatory cytokines and promoting regenerative/anti-inflammatory cytokines. Hence, it may offer a unique opportunity for the treatment of COVID19 disease progression and prevention/treatment of post-COVID sequalae. Post-COVID sequalae or long COVID remains an unmet medical need with approximately 20 per cent of the COVID-infected patients showing at least one symptom within three months after showing RT-PCR negativity in the upper respiratory tract. Long-COVID may be caused by a persistent virus, uncleared viral RNA or viral antigens in the gut, immune dysregulation and circulating micro/nano-clots. There are no specific agents to treat or prevent Long-COVID.

Dr Sudeep Gupta, Director, ACTREC – Navi Mumbai, who was instrumental in designing the phase II clinical trial of Sodium Copper Chlorophyllin, observed that chlorophyllin’s ability to demonstrate anti-SARS-CoV-2 and immunomodulatory activity across model systems, combined with its excellent safety profile, makes it a possible candidate for prophylaxis against long-COVID.

Shivkumar Madki stated that the completion of clinical development of Sodium Copper Chlorophyllin (co-developed with scientists from the Department of Atomic Energy) was possible with the help of multiple agencies from the Government of India including the ICMR’s National Institute of Virology Pune, Translational Health Science and Technology Institute in Faridabad, National Chemical Laboratory, Pune and funding support from Department of Biotechnology, Government of India.

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