100-fold reduction of virus: S. Korea pharma company reports progress in experimental COVID-19 drug

Reuters

Posted at Jun 01 2020 12:23 PM

The logo of Celltrion is seen at the company's headquarters in Incheon. Reuters

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's Celltrion Inc said on Monday its experimental treatment of COVID-19 demonstrated a 100-fold reduction in viral load of the disease in animal testing.

Drugmakers worldwide are rushing to develop treatments and vaccines for the illness that has caused more than 371,000 deaths globally.

The pre-clinical study of the drug showed improved recovery in runny nose, cough and body aches after the first day of treatment, and clearing of lung inflammation within six days, the company said in a statement.

Celltrion has research experience with other types of coronavirus conditions such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). It hopes to commence first in-human clinical trials for the COVID-19 treatment in July, said Kwon Ki-Sung, head of the firm's research and development unit.

"(Celltrion) has the capability to roll out mass production of the therapeutic antibody treatment once it is ready," Kwon said.

Shares in Celltrion traded up 4.2% on Monday morning in Seoul compared to the benchmark KOSPI's 1.4% climb.

(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Christopher Cushing)