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Vaccine fillip for pharma

Zydus Cadila had announced that it has initiated an accelerated research programme for developing a coronavirus vaccine
US President Donald Trump said chloroquine, a drug used to treat malaria, has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) to test as treatment for the novel coronavirus

Our Special Correspondent   |   Mumbai   |   Published 20.03.20, 08:52 PM

Shares of pharmaceutical companies that make anti-malarial drugs gained on Friday after US President Donald Trump said chloroquine, a drug used to treat malaria, has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) to test as treatment for the novel coronavirus.

Shares of Cadila Healthcare zoomed 16.37 per cent on the BSE to end at Rs 268.10 on the news, while Ipca Laboratories rose nearly 9 per cent, or by Rs 111.75, to settle at Rs 1,371.85 on the BSE.

However, the US drug regulator contradicted Trump’s statement saying that the drug has not been approved to treat the virus.

Pankaj Patel, chairman of the Zydus group, told a television channel that it has geared up to produce more of the drug. In February, Zydus Cadila had announced that it has initiated an accelerated research programme with multiple teams in India and Europe for developing a coronavirus vaccine.

The Ahmedabad-based drug maker had said that the first approach deals with the development of a DNA vaccine against the major viral membrane protein responsible for the cell entry of the novel coronavirus called Covid-19.

“There is an urgent and pressing need to develop a safe vaccine. Our researchers are working to bring a speedy solution,” group chairman Pankaj Patel had said.

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