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Reliance submits proposal for potential COVID-19 drug; to develop diagnostic kits and low-cost sanitisers

Reliance Industries’ R&D arm has submitted a proposal for the application of Niclosamide as a potential drug against COVID-19.

Niclosamide, which is on the World Health Organisation’s list of essential medicines, has been used to treat tapeworm infestation around the world for more than 50 years.

Interestingly, the oral anti-viral drug was also used to treat patients during the SARS outbreak of 2003-04. The Indian government has already given clearance for the Phase 2 clinical trials of Niclosamide in COVID-19 treatment in adult patients.

The drug regulator will now evaluate the proposal for public use.

The Reliance R&D team is also working with several Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) labs to certify Nexar polymer, which has proven effective in destroying the lipid layer of various viruses and bacteria, Reliance Industries shared in its FY20-21 annual report.

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Additionally, Reliance is also developing ICMR-approved diagnostic kits for COVID-19 detection. These novel kits called ‘R-Green’ and ‘R-Green Pro’ are expected to be cost-effective, and useful for early detection of the deadly disease.

Further, the Reliance R&D team has designed a process to produce sanitisers aligned with WHO specifications at 20 percent of the market cost.

It is also “working to address insufficient ventilator supply in emergency rooms across hospitals in India by deploying a concept developed in Italy, which enables CPAP machine with a 3D-printed charlotte valve and special snorkelling mask,” as per the annual report.

After diverting industrial use oxygen from its Jamnagar plants towards O2-deficient hospitals — RIL has supplied over 55,000 tonnes of medical-grade liquid oxygen to date — amidst India’s devastating second wave, Reliance has now started working on a value-engineered robust design for oxygen generators.

These devices would be capable of producing 5-7 litres of oxygen per minute, with a purity of 90-95 percent. The company believes that this would help India prepare better to face the impending third wave of the pandemic.

“Reliance has more than 900 researchers and scientists from the world’s top institutes working on developing next-gen technology solutions to solve some of the most pressing Indian and global challenges,” the company added in the report.

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