First Potential Treatment for COVID-19 Greenlighted by Korean Authorities
South Koreas’ Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has approved the application from Seoul National University Hospital (SNUH) and ImmuneMed to use its patented virus suppressing factor (VSF) as a COVID-19 treatment.
The COVID-19 viral epidemic has been rapidly spreading to newer areas around the world and South Korea is one of the many countries that currently battles with the disease. At the time of writing, estimates suggest 7,041 confirmed cases with 46 fatalities in the country. The massive contagion in Daegu, South Korea has struck alarm in the lives of many Korean citizens including authorities. Several steps have been taken to prevent further spread, and the government is looking for more detection kits and available medication. Late last month, South Korean biotech, PCL, Inc. released a breakthrough testing kit, called COVID-19 Ag GICA Rapid, to detect infection in 10 minutes with 85% accuracy. Around the same time, the application of using VSF as COVID-19 treatment was approved to support contingency measures.
VSF is an interferon-like molecule first observed in mouse models, which was later also found in humans. As an endogenously secreted agent, it can defend the attacks from viruses by binding to the surface protein on infected cells and adjusting inflammatory proteins to inhibit the virus reproduction and further inflammation. Chuncheon-based ImmuneMed used the mouse VFS prototype and modified it into a more effective and compatible one for humans. The modified HzVSFs shows better anti-viral ability and safety at the preclinical and phase I trials. Results show that 70% of the mice infected with a fatal titer of coronavirus were protected by the treatment. Besides COVID-19, ImmuneMed has also prepared to apply VSF to deadly influenza and Hepatitis B. The world is looking forward to the success of new agents such as these to minimize the deadly effects of this vicious virus.
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