Intas Pharmaceuticals Ltd., the largest supplier by volume of generic medicines to the UK NHS, is collaborating on a World Health Organisation-endorsed study into the prevention of COVID-19 infection using hydroxychloroquine, a drug that may have an effect in preventing and/or reducing symptoms of COVID-19.
The global COPCOV (chloroquine / hydroxychloroquine prevention of COVID-19 in the healthcare setting; a randomised, placebo-controlled prophylaxis) study involves 40,000 frontline healthcare workers who are caring for COVID-19 patients and is due to start shortly.
COPCOV will be led by scientists from the University of Oxford and funded by the Wellcome Trust; the study pools the resources of international experts across multiple continents.
Intas will provide up to two million tablets of hydroxychloroquine to the trial, free of charge, along with two million tablets of matched placebo. Dr William Schilling, co-lead investigator, Research Physician and Infectious Diseases/ Microbiology Registrar, Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit, Thailand explains what prompted the rapid initiation of this global trial: “We are in a race against time to find effective treatments and preventive measures as the COVID-19 pandemic grows. What we already know is that chloroquine has antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2 in cell culture, as it does for the related SARS-CoV.”
Professor Sir Nicholas White, Wellcome Trust Fellow and consultant in infectious diseases at the University of Oxford continues: “The hypothesis for this study is that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine might both slow viral replication in exposed subjects, attenuating or preventing the infection. Given the extensive experience in clinical practice, established safety and tolerability profile, if it proves effective then it would be a readily deployable and affordable preventive measure for high risk individuals such as healthcare workers.”
Mr. Binish Chudgar, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Intas Pharmaceuticals Ltd. said: “I am extremely proud that Intas is leading the way and playing an important part in the current COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to providing scientific advice, our teams are working around the clock, in challenging times, to manufacture the required hydroxychloroquine and matching-placebo for this vital study. This is a great demonstration of Intas’ mission to provide essential medicines to people in need, helping to make things better for healthcare professionals on the frontline, patients and society in general.”
About Intas Pharmaceuticals Ltd
Intas is one of the leading multinational pharmaceutical formulation development, manufacturing and marketing companies in the world. It has been growing at about 26% CAGR over the last five years and crossed the $1.9 billion mark in the past financial year. The company has set up a network of subsidiaries, under the name Accord Healthcare, for marketing and selling in the highly regulated markets of EU, U.S., Canada, South Africa, Australia, Asia Pacific as well as CIS & MENA regions. Intas is present in 85+ countries worldwide, with more than 69% of its revenue coming from global business, particularly the highly regulated markets of EU and U.S.
Currently ranked 8th(as per IQVIA TSA MAT February 2020) in the Indian pharmaceutical market, it is also the largest privately owned Indian generic pharmaceutical company.