SEOUL, Aug. 5 (Korea Bizwire) — Nafamostat, a drug used to treat acute pancreatitis and prevent blood clotting for patients receiving blood dialysis, was found to be effective against COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Professors Rhee Ji-young and Jang Suk-bin from Dankook University Hospital published an article detailing the use of nafamostat on coronavirus patients in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases.
The article explained that an experiment on three severe coronavirus patients over 65 years of age requiring oxygen treatment revealed that nafamostat was effective against COVID-19 and related inflammation.
The three coronavirus patients in question were suffering from high fever and inflammation in various parts of the lung, requiring a respirator to inhale oxygen.
Prior to the nafamostat clinical trials, they were treated with an anti-HIV medication Kaletra and an anti-malaria drug chloroquine.
The medical team gave the COVID-19 patients a dose of 200 milligrams of nafamostat every day, after which patients were able to breathe on their own, with inflammation subsiding.
Nafamostat was also effective against blood clots, one of the major symptoms caused by the coronavirus.
“A clinical test showed that nafamostat was effective in the treatment of coronavirus patients with symptoms of pneumonia. It is a relatively safe drug that can be used in the treatment of other coronavirus patients,” said the research team in the article.
The scope of this research, however, was limited to patients suffering from severe coronavirus symptoms, requiring an additional round of clinical tests for further use.
In an experiment conducted by Institut Pasteur Korea last May, nafamostat was exceptionally effective against COVID-19, approximately 600 times better than remdesivir, which was recently approved for emergency use.
Nafamostat was developed by Torii Pharmaceutical Co. SK Chemicals Co., a pharmaceutical affiliate of South Korean conglomerate SK Group, currently sells nafamostat under the brand name Futan.
South Korean pharmaceutical firm Chong Kun Dang Pharmaceutical Corp. is currently discussing plans to request emergency use of napabeltan, the company’s generic version of nafamostat.
Among generic drug producers, Chong Kun Dang is the only company using nafamostat to develop drugs for COVID-19, receiving clearance for napabeltan’s phase 2 clinical trials from the Korea Food and Drug Administration last June.
The company is working with Institut Pasteur Korea, the Korea Institute of Radiological Medical Sciences, and the Korea Atomic Energy Academy to carry out the clinical trials.
Once Chong Kun Dang confirms the effectiveness of napabeltan against severe coronavirus symptoms, the company plans to request the emergency use of the drug for coronavirus treatment.
H. M. Kang (firstname.lastname@example.org)