Focus: Prelims, GS-III Science and technology
Why in news?
Tocilizumab, a drug that was recommended by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) for emergency use in coronavirus (COVID-19) patients, has been found to be ineffective in reducing the associated pneumonia.
- Though unproven, a rise in cases and mortality translated into a global scamper for the drug.
- There was high demand for it in India too with stocks running out at pharmacists and reports that it was being blackmarketed.
- Originally developed for rheumatoid arthritis, Actemra/RoActerma, the brand name under which the drug is sold, was first approved by the United States’ Food and Drug Administration to be tested.
- The primary aim was to check if the drug, which is given intravenously, improved health or reduced mortality when compared to standard of care treatment.
- Tocilizumab works by suppressing the action of a pro-inflammatory chemical that the immune system relies on to recruit a host of cells that can destroy the Sars-Cov-2 virus.
- However, an excess of this commandeering can damage healthy cells and even kill the patient.
-Source: The Hindu