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China’s anti-COVID-19 drug enters late-stage human trial

This undated photo shows a vial of JS016, a China-developed anti-COVID-19 drug candidate. (INSTITUTE OF MICROBIOLOGY UNDER THE CHINESE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES / HANDOUT VIA XINHUA)

BEIJING – A Chinese antiviral medicine for COVID-19, called JS016, has commenced phase-3 clinical trials overseas, its developer said Monday.

According to the Institute of Microbiology, JS016 has become the first COVID-19 monoclonal antibody in the world to carry out clinical trials in healthy people

The patented anti-COVID-19 drug candidate was jointly developed by the Institute of Microbiology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Shanghai Junshi Biosciences Co, Ltd.

In June 2020, China's drug regulator granted permission to the developers to carry out human tests.

According to the institute, JS016 has become the first COVID-19 monoclonal antibody in the world to carry out clinical trials in healthy people.

Researchers completed global multi-center phase-2 trials this month. The results of the early-stage trials support the safety and effectiveness of JS016, suggesting it can lower the viral titer in participants and reduce the risk of becoming a severe case.

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"The drug has been used for emergency treatment in 15 countries, and more than 500,000 doses have been sent overseas," said Yan Jinghua, a researcher with the Institute of Microbiology.

China's Ministry of Science and Technology has also allocated 3,000 doses of the drug for the treatment of COVID-19 patients in the country, Yan added.