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South Korea's Daewoong Pharma gets approval for Phase 1 trials of COVID-19 anti-parasite drug

The ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China, is seen in an illustration released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. January 29, 2020. Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM/CDC/Handout via REUTERS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. THIS IMAGE WAS PROCESSED BY REUTERS TO ENHANCE QUALITY, AN UNPROCESSED VERSION HAS BEEN PROVIDED SEPARATELY.MANDATORY CREDIT

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korean drugmaker Daewoong Pharmaceutical Co Ltd said on Monday that it had received regulatory approval for Phase 1 clinical trials of its anti-parasitic niclosamide drug to treat COVID-19 patients.

The approval comes after the company in August received Indian regulatory approval to test the drug in Phase 1 trials.

The company confirmed the safety of the drug in its latest study in partnership with New Delhi-based Mankind Pharma Ltd, Daewoong said in a statement.

In September, Daewoong separately launched another overseas human trial of the drug in the Philippians.

Daewoong plans to seek conditional approval for its anti-viral drug, DWRX2003, for emergency use after securing the results from a second-stage clinical study, the company said.

Daewoong had said its anti-viral drug had completely eliminated the novel coronavirus from animals’ lungs during pre-clinical testing.

Reporting by Sangmi Cha; Editing by Stephen Coates