Institut Pasteur Korea, an institute specializing in infectious diseases, and Daewoong Pharmaceutical said Tuesday that they would develop a new coronavirus treatment with niclosamide, an ingredient of animal tapeworm drug.
The institute and company will apply for clinical trials in July after testing its efficacy over the COVID-19 virus.
According to a study by Institut Pasteur, COVID-19 drug repositioning, conducted by the institute with the support of the Ministry of Science and ICT, niclosamide, showed 40 times higher antiviral activity than remdesivir and 26 times higher than chloroquine.
Despite its excellent effect, the human body cannot maintain blood levels when niclosamide is taken, and the side effect has been the reason researchers found it difficult to use niclosamide for developing COVID-19 treatment.
However, DWRX2003, developed by Daewoong Therapeutics in 2019, has emerged as a new formulation that balances the concentration level of niclosamide in blood. Daewoong decided to apply DWRX2003, developed as a treatment for refractory lung disease, to developing COVID-19 treatment.
Last year, DWRX2003 showed efficacy in treating dyspnea by inhibiting mucus secretion in lung tissue and the ability to control cytokine storm by suppressing inflammatory cell invasion in an animal experiment of refractory lung disease. Daewoong has decided to simultaneously develop it as COVID-19 treatment encouraged by the results of Institut Pasteur Korea’s recent study and plans to apply for its clinical trials in July to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.
"DWRX2003 showed excellent effects in the research by Institut Pasteur Korea, and we are planning to develop it as a COVID-19 treatment," Daewoong Director Lee Min-suk said. "DWRX2003 is expected to not only have antiviral effects but also have a high possibility of suppressing complications in lung tissue among severe patients.”
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