Reliance Industries Ltd. is working on a new Covid-19 drug and cheaper testing kits as the conglomerate owned by Asia’s richest man Mukesh Ambani builds an armamentarium against the pathogen which has ravaged India in the past year.
India’s most valuable company is exploring the use of a tapeworm drug, Niclosamide, as a cure for Covid-19, according to its annual report. Its diagnostic kits — R-Green and R-Green Pro — have been approved by India’s apex medical research body and it has designed a process to make sanitisers at one-fifth the market cost, Reliance said in the report.
The refining-to-retail group’s efforts come as India emerges as the pandemic’s epicentre with the world’s fastest-surging coronavirus outbreak that has sickened 28.44 million so far and killed more than 337,900 people in the Asian nation. Even though the deadly second wave is ebbing, experts have warned against a possible third wave of infections.
Reliance is also trying to address ventilator shortages across Indian hospitals seen earlier this year by using 3D technology and a “special snorkelling mask.” It is designing medical-grade oxygen generators with five to seven litre capacity per minute, the report said.
When India faced a huge oxygen shortage during the second wave in April, Reliance repurposed its plants in Jamnagar, the world’s biggest oil refinery site, to produce medical-grade oxygen. Last year, it set up a unit to make personal protective equipment kits for the front-line health care workers.