Antimalarial medicine Pyramax approved for coronavirus clinical trials

Lim Chang-won Reporter() | Posted : May 13, 2020, 17:30 | Updated : May 13, 2020, 17:30

[Courtesy of Shinpoong Pharm]

SEOUL -- Pyramax, a fixed-dose combination medication for the treatment of malaria, has been approved for clinical trials in South Korea to compare and evaluate its efficacy and safety in treating patients infected with a new coronavirus.

Pyramax, produced by Shin Poong Pharm, a South Korean pharmaceutical firm specializing in remedy drugs, is on the World Health Organization's list of essential medicines. The medicine contains the active substances such as pyronaridine tetraphosphate and artesunate.

The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, a government public health agency, allowed Shin Poong to conduct phase II clinical trials at four medical institutions including Severance Hospital in Seoul. Pyramax was licensed as a new drug in South Korea in 2011.

Shin Poong has sought a drug re-creation study to expand the treatment range of Pyramax to COVID-19. In April, cell tests showed that the main components of Pyramax suppress the novel coronavirus.

The COVID-19 pandemic has opened a huge market for vaccines, diagnostic kits and medication. Dozens of antiviral drugs have been tested worldwide and medical scientists predicted that humanity has a higher chance of developing a COVID-19 antiviral drug using different compositions of conventional antiviral medicines rather than trying to research and develop a totally new drug.

The South Korean government has pledged financial support for the production of therapeutic materials and research on clinical trials. Researchers have been involved in quick experiments to check the efficacy of various anti-viral drugs, including Remdesivir, a broad-spectrum antiviral medication developed by Gilead Sciences to treat Ebola virus disease.
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