SEOUL -- Daewoong Pharmaceutical, a major bioengineering company in South Korea, has secured approval from a Philippine health regulatory agency to test the efficacy of niclosamide (DWRX2003), a tapeworm treatment medicine selected as a candidate for COVID-19 antibody treatment. The first clinical study covering 40 patients would begin in September.
Daewoong said it was allowed by the Food and Drug Administration of the Philippines to go ahead with the first-stage clinical trial of DWRX2003. A similar application has been approved by India.
"We will focus our efforts on providing treatments quickly to countries around Southeast Asia if we complete the development of the DWRX2003," Daewoong CEO Jeon Seng-ho said in a statement, vowing to accelerate clinical trials abroad for the development of COVID-19 medicines.
Daewoong claimed to have achieved progress in the initial animal testing of niclosamide. Institut Pasteur Korea, an infectious disease-focused research institute, works with a subsidiary of Daewoong to test the efficacy of niclosamide, which basically starves tapeworms to death by inhibiting the glucose uptake, oxidative phosphorylation and anaerobic metabolism.
Daewoong has also tested the effectiveness of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and camostat mesilate, a potent serine protease inhibitor sold under the brand of Foistar. Foreign studies showed that camostat mesilate was found to be effective in blocking the spread and pathogenesis of COVID-19 in animal testing.
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