SCI-TECH / BIOLOGY
First clinical study of China’s antiviral oral drug against Omicron published
Published: May 18, 2022 11:28 AM Updated: May 18, 2022 11:23 AM
A medic takes a swab sample from a resident for nucleic acid test at a community in Haidian District of Beijing, capital of China, May 13, 2022. Beijing has started three additional rounds of mass nucleic acid testing in 12 districts from Friday to Sunday, as the Chinese capital races against time to contain the latest resurgence of COVID-19 infections. Photo:Xinhua


A medic takes a swab sample from a resident for nucleic acid test at a community in Haidian District of Beijing, capital of China, May 13, 2022. Beijing has started three additional rounds of mass nucleic acid testing in 12 districts from Friday to Sunday, as the Chinese capital races against time to contain the latest resurgence of COVID-19 infections. Photo:Xinhua

The first clinical research of China's antiviral oral drug against SARS-CoV-2, VV116, was published on Tuesday. The study shows the drug can effectively treat patients infected with the Omicron variant with mild symptoms in the early stages.

The study was conducted in March and included 136 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, including 60 in the VV116 group and 76 in the control group. And the results showed that the VV116 group spent at average of 8.56 days to test negative for COVID-19, while the time for the control group was 11.13 days.

No adverse reactions were observed within those who took VV116, the study shows.

The paper was published by the Emerging Microbes & Infections journal, by scientists from Fudan University's Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center and other institutes. Zhang Wenhong, head of the infectious disease department at Huashan Hospital in Shanghai, and also head of the National Center for Infectious Disease under the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention, co-authored the article.

Since the article only included patients with mild symptoms, it doesn't have enough data to show the drug's effect on patients with severe symptoms, the study pointed out.

According to industrial analysis, 21 domestic COVID-19 drugs is undergoing research and development in China, among them six reached phase III clinical trials.

The VV116, an oral anti-SARS-CoV-2 nucleoside candidate jointly developed by the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Wuhan Institute of Virology, is one of the most focused candidates. VV116 has been approved for treatment of COVID-19 in Uzbekistan and is being studied in several Phase 3 clinical trials in patients with COVID-19.

China previously gave the green light to Pfizer's COVID-19 treatment drug Paxlovid and it is already being used to treat some of the country's COVID-19 patients. Chinese researchers are also conducting clinical studies to compare the effects of Paxlovid and VV116.

Global Times