Ambani’s Reliance Plans to Tackle Covid With Cheaper Tests, Tapeworm Drug

Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries Ltd., at a discussion. (Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg)

Ambani’s Reliance Plans to Tackle Covid With Cheaper Tests, Tapeworm Drug

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 looks to curb the pathogen which has ravaged India in the past year.

India’s most-valuable company is exploring 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 sanitizers at one-fifth the market cost, Reliance said in the report.

The refining-to-retail group’s efforts come as India emerges the pandemic’s epicenter 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.

Ambani’s Reliance Plans to Tackle Covid With Cheaper Tests, Tapeworm Drug

Reliance is also trying to address ventilator shortages across Indian hospitals seen earlier this year by using 3D technology and a “special snorkeling mask.” It is designing medical-grade oxygen generators with five to seven liter 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, 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.

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