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Domestic antiviral drug promising

By CAO CHEN in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2022-05-19 08:21
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A Chinese drug for treating patients infected by the Omicron variant has shown good results in terms of drug safety, tolerability and effectiveness in reducing viral shedding, or the amount of time that infected cells release reproduced viruses.

According to Huashan Ganran, the official WeChat account run by the National Medical Center for Infectious Diseases and the infectious diseases department at Huashan Hospital affiliated with Fudan University, the drug VV116 is able to inhibit the replication of coronavirus variants including Omicron.

A Phase 1 clinical trial held from March 8 to 24 involved 136 hospitalized COVID-19 patients divided into a treatment group of 60 patients who received VV116 in addition to standard treatment and a control group of 76 patients who didn't take the drug.

According to an announcement on Wednesday on the WeChat account, the Phase 1 clinical trial suggested that the viral shedding time was cut to 8.56 days in the treatment group, in contrast with 11.13 days in the control group.

It worked the same on symptomatic patients who took the drug within two to 10 days of their first positive nucleic acid test. No serious side effects have occurred so far.

The study was a collaborative effort by the National Medical Center for Infectious Diseases; Shanghai Key Lab of Infectious Diseases and Biosafety Emergency Response; a Shanghai medical team from Huashan hospital led by infectious disease expert Zhang Wenhong; a team from Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center led by Fan Xiaohong; and a lab at Shanghai Lingang special area in Pudong New Area.

However, due to the limited sample size and none of the participants being critical or severe COVID-19 patients, it's still unknown if the drug could prevent patients from progressing from mild to critical illness, the research team said.

The study, An Open, Prospective Cohort Study of VV116 in Chinese Participants Infected with SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Variants, was published in the journal Emerging Microbes and Infections on Wednesday.


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