Pre-clinical data of Celltrion’s investigational antiviral antibody drug have shown a 100-fold reduction in viral load of COVID-19 with improvement in lung lesions to a normal level, suggesting its possibility as a potential treatment against the deadly virus.
The observation was confirmed in a ferret study jointly conducted with Chungbuk National University College of Medicine to evaluate the efficacy of two doses (low and high) for the antiviral antibody med in comparison to a placebo-controlled group, the Korean biopharma company said on Monday.
Significant improvement was observed in the two dosage groups versus placebo at day 1 in terms of quantified clinical symptom scores such as runny nose, cough and body activity, the company said.
At day 5, significant clinical remission was demonstrated with the samples from the high-dose group reaching a 100-fold viral load decline over placebo. Furthermore, lung biopsy showed histopathological inflammation in both dosage groups returned to normal levels within six days, whereas the placebo group experienced sustained levels of lung inflammation and complications.
Ferrets are uniquely sensitive to human virus strains, displaying key symptoms of infection, allowing novel drugs and vaccines to be tested on a wide range of human viruses including COVID-19.
Celltrion said it will conduct additional efficacy and toxicity tests in pre-clinical protocols with hamsters, mice, and monkeys before a first human clinical trial currently slated for late July, while preparing for massive production of the candidate drug.
Shares of Celltrion finished Tuesday 1.32 percent lower at 224,500 won.
By Kim Byung-ho and Minu Kim
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