Indian media called it the Biocon breakthrough. On 11 July, the biopharmaceutical company’s made-in-India drug Itolizumab had just received emergency authorisation by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for the treatment of moderate to severely ill Covid patients. Originally created to treat a skin disease called psoriasis, Itolizumab was repurposed and tried on Covid patients to avoid the onset of a cytokine storm—or when the body’s immune system begins to attack the body, often fatally.

But even as Biocon’s “breakthrough” was being celebrated, its 30-patient, randomised control trial conducted over four hospital sites in India had already come under fire.


Olina Banerji

Based in Delhi, Olina writes about mega-trends in urban mobility, education, skilling and the environment, with a focus on how institutions and innovations can help cities grow sustainably. She is a graduate of the London School of Economics, and has worked previously with India Today and global non-profit Ashoka.

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