SEOUL, Aug. 7 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea has approved first phase clinical trials for a potential treatment material for the novel coronavirus, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said Friday.
The material to be tested is GX-17 being developed by local biotech firm Genexine, the government agency said.
GX-17 is a so-called repositioning drug originally made to treat breast and skin cancers and certain types of solid tumors, but scientists have said it can be used to combat the ongoing pandemic.
The ministry said it has already undergone phase one trials as a possible cancer drug and has been discovered to be safe, so the latest approval will be used to see if it is effective in dealing with the highly contagious disease.
“Genexine’s material is an antibody-dependent cell cytotoxicity and interleukin 7 replacement material that can strengthen the body’s immune system and help in the recovery of coronavirus infected people,” the ministry said.
It pointed out that another interleukin 7 replacement material — Revlmmune — being developed by a U.S. company is also undergoing human clinical trials to see if can be used on COVID-19 patients.
The approval brings the number of drug candidate materials that have been authorized for clinical trials to 15, with two being vaccines and the rest being treatment materials.