SEOUL, June 26 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea has approved 15 candidates for coronavirus treatment drugs and vaccines for clinical trials as it steps up efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said Friday.
The candidate materials include two that may be developed into vaccines and 13 that show promise as treatment drugs, it said.
The ministry said most of the candidates being tested are foreign, but two have been made by local drugmakers — Bukwang Pharmaceutical Co. and Chong Kun Dang Pharmaceutical Corp.
Bukwang’s Levovir was originally made to treat hepatitis B, while Chong Kun Dang’s drug Nafabelltan is an anticoagulant that may help people infected with COVID-19.
GC Pharma, another South Korean pharmaceutical company, is getting ready to conduct phase two clinical trials for a potential treatment drug that uses blood plasma taken from people who have fully recovered from coronavirus infections.
As for vaccine candidates, the ministry said GX-19, a vaccine material made by South Korea’s Genexine Inc., is being examined by experts ahead of clinical tests.
The ministry said it has authorized local hospitals to use the anti-inflammatory drug dexamethasone on critically ill patients, after the drug drew international attention for helping some COVID-19 patients.