PGI hospital, Chandigarh said on Sunday in the pre-study phase it has assessed safety of Mw, the drug used to treat leprosy, in four patients with COVID-19 and found no short-term adverse effects.
"The impact of the Mw use on long-term safety and efficacy will only be known after conclusion of this CSIR-supported clinical trial, which will be initiated soon at all three centres," the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) said in a statement.
At the same time, it added: "It is very early to say about the outcome of results and its use."
For the last three days, four critical patients were administered 0.3 ml dose of Mycobacterium W (Mw) and the results were encouraging with no adverse side effects, a senior doctor, who wished to remain anonymous, told IANS.
The PGIMER, the AIIMS Delhi and the AIIMS Bhopal will study the use of Mycobacterium w (heat-killed Mycobacterium indicus pranii) as adjunct to the treatment of critically-ill COVID-19 patients.
The Mw was originally developed as an immunomodulator for leprosy, acts through the toll-like receptor pathway and enhances host-T cell responses.
"In a recently concluded multi-centre trial, we found that Mw reduces mortality in ICU patients with severe sepsis. Mw can potentially decrease the cytokine storm seen in patients with COVID-19, and may thus be of potential benefit in managing these patients and decreasing mortality," the PGI said.
With no death of coronavirus patient belonging to Chandigarh, the city has a recovery rate of 56 per cent, the third highest in the country after Kerala (70 per cent) and Haryana (67 per cent), Chandigarh Advisor Manoj Parida said.
The PGI Hospital, which is providing medical care to the non-coronavirus patients simultaneously, said seven patients admitted to its dedicated Covid-19 hospital were discharged since April 1.