Biocon's Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw adds to 'COVID count', tests positive

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Executive Chairperson of Bengaluru-headquartered Biocon, tweets that she has tested positive for COVID-19.
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Executive chairperson of Bengaluru-headquartered Biocon Ltd Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw on Monday night said she had tested positive for COVID-19.

"I have added to the covid count by testing positive. Mild symptoms and I hope it stays that way," the 67-year-old biotechnology industry veteran said in a tweet.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Chairperson and Managing Director of Biocon



Replying to her tweet, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said, "So sorry to hear this, @KiranShaw. We need you hale & hearty soon! Be well my friend."

As of August 17 evening, cumulatively 2,33,283 COVID-19 positive cases have been confirmed in Karnataka, including 4,062 deaths and 1,48,562 discharges, the health department said in its bulletin.

Bengaluru urban district tops the list of COVID-19 cases, with a total of 91,864 infections so far.

Out of 6,317 fresh cases reported in the state on Monday, 2,053 cases were from Bengaluru urban alone.

Earlier in July, Biocon secured the approval of the Drug Controller of India (DGCI) to use Itolizumab (ALZUMAb), an anti-CD6 IgG1 monoclonal antibody that it launched in 2013 to treat chronic plaque psoriasis, for emergency use in COVID-19 patients.

The DCGI approval allows ALZUMAb to be used for the treatment of cytokine release syndrome (CRS) in moderate to severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) patients suffering from COVID-19.

Earlier, many Indian doctors did not use the drug and relied on Western medicines to treat psoriasis. However, during COVID-19 treatment, the drug showed enduring results among patients, reducing the cost of therapy.

“The reason we thought that this drug will actually work in COVID-19 is because we understand the science and the mechanism of action as the drug is an immunomodulator,” Kiran said.

Speaking about ALZUMAb, the biotech pioneer says the drug was tested in four hospitals in Mumbai and Delhi for COVID-19 treatment — Nair Hospital, KEM Hospital, LNJP, and AIIMS — and over 500 patients had already benefited from the medicine.

(Disclaimer: Additional background information has been added to this PTI copy for context)

(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)

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