China-Japan Friendship Hospital in Beijing will lead a clinical trial on the treatment of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) with the drug Remdesivir in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province, the hospital said in a statement on Sunday, bringing hope for the fight against the epidemic.
The application for the three-phase trial has been accepted by China's Center for Drug Evaluation, and is scheduled to start on Monday, lasting through April 27. The new drug will be tested on 270 patients with mild or moderate coronavirus infections, domestic news portal thepaper.cn reported on Sunday.
Remdesivir was developed by US-based biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences. It was originally a drug developed for the Ebola virus and has completed phase one and two clinical trials abroad, according to media reports.
Gilead Sciences said in a statement on Friday (US time) that the company is working with health authorities in China to establish a randomized, controlled trial to determine whether Remdesivir can safely and effectively be used to combat 2019-nCoV.
Gilead has provided Remdesivir for use in a small number of patients with 2019-nCoV for emergency treatment in the absence of any approved treatment options.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the clinical condition of an infected patient in the US was visibly improved after treatment with intravenous Remdesivir, and noted that randomized controlled trials are needed to determine the safety and efficacy of Remdesivir for treatment of patients with 2019-nCoV infection.
If the clinical trials could achieve desirable progress, Remdesivir is expected to hit the market quickly, thepaper.cn reported.
The Hubei Daily on Wednesday reported that there were three drugs with fairly good inhibitory effects on the novel coronavirus at the cellular level-Remdesivir, Chloroquine and Ritonavir.