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Pharmaceuticals

Celltrion's coronavirus drug shows promise in animal tests

South Korean pharmaceutical records 100-fold viral load reduction

The company said the pre-clinical study was conducted in an animal model in collaboration with one of the Korean National Universities, Chungbuk National University College of Medicine.  (Photo courtesy of Celltrion) 

TOKYO -- South Korean drugmaker Celltrion has recorded positive preclinical results for its coronavirus treatment, the company announced on Monday.

The pharmaceutical group said the experimental drug, which assessed efficacy in animals, demonstrated a 100-fold reduction in the viral load of COVID-19.

Symptoms such as runny nose, cough and body aches improved during the study, with significant clinical remission observed from the fifth day.

Data from the preclinical study also showed improvement in lung lesions, according to Celltrion.

Following the results, the company plans to conduct additional efficacy and toxicity tests and hopes to begin human clinical trials in July.

The drugmaker has previous experience in a treatment for Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS.

Ki-Sung Kwon, Head of a research and development unit at Celltrion, said in a statement that "Celltrion is leveraging its advanced technologies to lead efforts to develop a novel antiviral antibody treatment containing potent therapeutic antibodies that can neutralize the virus."

Kwon added that the company "has the capability to roll out mass production of the therapeutic antibody treatment once it is ready."

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