BENGALURU (Reuters) – Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd said on Tuesday it will begin a new clinical trial in India to test a combination of two anti-viral drugs, favipiravir and umifenovir, as a potential COVID-19 treatment.
The study will look to enroll 158 hospitalized patients suffering from moderate COVID-19 infections in India, the company said.
Drugmakers across the world have been rushing to develop a treatment or vaccine for the fast-spreading coronavirus, which has infected 5.5 million people globally, killing more than 345,000, according to a Reuters tally.
In India, now among the 10 most affected nations, the death toll from COVID-19 reached 4,167 on Tuesday.
Favipiravir is made under the brand name Avigan by Japan’s Fujifilm Holdings Corp and was approved for use as an anti-flu drug there in 2014, while umifenovir is licensed as a treatment of some types of flu infections in Russia and China.
Glenmark is already conducting clinical trials in India of just favipiravir as a potential treatment for COVID-19, for which it expects results by July or August. Favipiravir is also undergoing trials in other countries.
The company said it had received Indian regulatory approval for the trial of the combination drug candidate.
“The two antiviral drugs have different mechanism of action, and their combination may demonstrate improved treatment efficacy,” the Mumbai-headquartered drugmaker said.
Glenmark did not immediately respond to an email requesting more details on the trials. Its shares were up nearly 1% by 0545 GMT.
Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Shounak Dasgupta