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Focus: Prelims, GS-III Science and technology


A repurposed drug, Itolizumab, is one of the newest treatments for Covid-19 approved in India.

What is Itolizumab?

Itolizumab is an existing drug used for psoriasis, a chronic skin disease involving unregulated growth of some skin cells that develop into red patches mostly on knees and elbows, but also on some other parts of the body.

Why was it approved for emergency use in Covid treatment?

  • The SARS-CoV-2 virus has been observed to induce an overreaction of the immune system, generating a large number of cytokines that can cause severe damage to the lungs and other organs, and, in the worst scenario, multi-organ failure and even death.
  • A study confirmed the safety and efficacy of Itolizumab in preventing cardio-renal complications in Covid-19 patients who also have acute respiratory distress.
  • Basically, the drug controls the hyper-activation of the immune system in response to SARS-CoV-2 virus and prevents morbidity and mortality related to the cytokine storm.

-Source: The Hindu, Indian Express

December 2023