Reliance Industries Ltd’s R&D arm has proposed the use of Niclosamide – the drug used to treat tapeworm infestation – for treating COVID-19 patients. Niclosamide, a drug on the World Health Organisation’s list of essential medicines, has been used to treat tapeworm infestation for more than 50 years. The oral antiviral drug was also used to treat patients during the SARS outbreak of 2003-04. “The company submitted a proposal for the application of Niclosamide as a potential drug against COVID-19,” the firm’s latest annual report said.
The drug regulator will now evaluate the proposal for public use. The company however did not say if it plans to manufacture the drug or would use it to treat COVID patients at hospitals run by the group. The Indian government has already given clearance for the Phase 2 clinical trials of Niclosamide in COVID-19 treatment in adult patients. The Reliance R&D (research and development) team is also working with various Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) laboratories to certify Nexar polymer, which has been found to be effective in destroying the lipid layer of various viruses and bacteria.
Leveraging its intellectual capital to help the nation tackle the COVID-19 crisis, Reliance has developed novel cost-effective diagnostic kits called ‘R-Green’ and ‘R-Green Pro’ for COVID-19 detection. Both kits have received approval from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The company has also designed a process to produce sanitisers aligned with World Health Organization (WHO) specifications at 20 per cent of the market rate. “Reliance is working to address insufficient ventilator supply in emergency rooms across hospitals in India by deploying a concept developed in Italy, which enables CPAP machine with a 3D-printed charlotte valve and special snorkelling mask,” the report said.
Seeing a significant rise in demand for onsite oxygen as the pandemic raged, Reliance has started working on a value-engineered robust design for oxygen generators capable of producing 5-7 litres of oxygen per minute with a purity of 90-95 per cent. “Reliance has more than 900 researchers and scientists from world’s top institutes working on developing next-gen technology solutions to solve some of the most pressing Indian and global challenges,” the annual report said.