South Korea’s Celltrion says its COVID-19 treatment cuts recovery time

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SEOUL, Jan. 14 (UPI) — South Korean pharmaceutical company Celltrion announced that its COVID-19 treatment candidate shortened recovery time by up to six days.

The firm said Wednesday the clinical test of its anti-COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatment candidate, dubbed CT-P59, reduced progression rates to severe COVID-19 by 54 percent for mild to moderate patients age 50 and older.

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Celltrion also said patients treated with CT-P59 had a recovery time that ranged from 3.4 days earlier to 6.4 days earlier than the placebo group, according to results from its phase II clinical test. There were no notable side effects and the third-phase test is underway.

The firm, based in Incheon, west of Seoul, used 327 patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms, including a placebo group, in a double-blind global test in South Korea, Romania, Spain and the United States.

“The data demonstrate that CT-P59 could contribute to both a reduced time to clinical recovery, as well as a reduced proportion of patients who progress to severe disease,” Professor Eom Joong-sik at Gachon University said in a statement. “The treatment’s safety profile was comparable to that of placebo and generally well-tolerated. Therefore, it is anticipated that CT-P59 would positively contribute to the management and control of the current COVID-19 pandemic across the world.”

According to Celltrion, the treatment will be available to South Korean COVID-19 patients as early as this month.

“We have asked the Korea Drug and Food Administration to give an emergency approval for CT-P59. On gaining the green light, we will provide it to hospitals. It might be late this month at earliest,” a Celltrion representative said. “We also applied for an emergency use of the drug candidate to the Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency so that patients in the U.S. and Europe can also use it.”