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Celltrion’s potential COVID-19 therapy reduces virus by 100 times in animal tests

Researcher (Celltrion)
Researcher (Celltrion)
Celltrion on Monday announced that its antiviral COVID-19 treatment candidate CT-P59 reduced the amount of SARS-CoV-2 virus in infected ferrets 100-fold in preclinical trial results, with significant improvements in lung lesions.

The company said it will proceed with the first human clinical trials in July.

If the results are replicated in human test subjects, CT-P59 will gain an edge in potentially becoming an acknowledged therapy for the ongoing global pandemic.

“Celltrion is drawing on its expertise, innovation and previous experience in coronaviruses, such as efforts researching the efficacy of CT-P38, an investigational antibody to treat Middle East respiratory syndrome, as well as CT-P27, a multi-antibody drug for influenza which is being tested in a phase 2b study, to develop a safe and effective treatment for COVID-19,” said Kwon Ki-Sung, head of R&D Unit at Celltrion.

The preclinical trials of Celltrion’s COVID-19 pipeline were done in collaboration with Chungbuk National University College of Medicine.

The trials set out to assess the efficacy of two dosage amounts -- low and high -- for the antiviral antibody treatment.

In comparison to the placebo-controlled group, CT-P59 showed improved recovery in terms of clinical symptom scores such as runny nose, cough and body aches, after the first day of treatment. From the fifth day, significant clinical remission was observed, Celltrion said.

In the high-dose group, the viral load was reduced by 100-fold. Furthermore, lung biopsy showed that both dosage groups saw inflammation returning to normal lung tissue histopathology within six days, according to Celltrion.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (kaylalim@heraldcorp.com)
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