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New drug shows promise in treating COVID

NOV . 19 2021
Peking University, November 19: DXP-604, a new neutralizing antibody medicine to treat COVID-19 which has been approved for compassionate use with patients at the Beijing Ditan Hospital, has shown good results in phase 2 clinical trials, Science and Technology Daily reported on Thursday.


[Photo/Official Sina Weibo account of Science and Technology Daily]

The drug, jointly developed by Singlomics Biopharmaceuticals and a team led by Peking University professor Xie Xiaoliang, is a full-spectrum SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody which will likely be effective against any variants.

As of Nov 2, the medication had been administered to 14 patients with COVID-19 at the hospital for compassionate use, an option to treat patients with life-threatening conditions with medical products outside of clinical trials when no other treatments are available.

The results showed that patients who took the drug had greatly reduced viral loads and significant alleviation of the common symptoms of COVID-19, such as stuffiness and loss of smell or taste. Some patients have already recovered and were discharged from the hospital.

DXP-604, which is a single antibody treatment, has so far shown efficacy against all current variants, unlike most other drug candidates using a dual antibody approach to prevent the escape of variants.

"The Delta variant evaded DXP-593, one of our drug candidates," said Xie. His team was going to combine DXP-593 and DXP-604 as dual antibodies, but then discovered DXP-604 alone can prevent the escape of variants. The team in the past few months screened over 8,000 antibody candidates and selected several effective ones, with DXP-604 emerging as one of the best.

"It is the super antibody we've been looking for," he said. Compared to the drugs with excessively strong efficacy, DXP-604 is "just right" to neutralize all the current variants. At the same time, the treatment will likely not allow future variants to evade it to a great extent, according to Xie.

The single antibody approach will also lower production costs to less than one-third of the other drug candidates. When treating patients, one shot contains only 0.6 grams of the drug. "We're doing a test," said Xie. "Most likely, 0.3 grams would be enough."

His team has been in contact with Sinopharm's China National Biotech Group to promote overseas phase 2 and 3 clinical trials of DXP-604.

Source:
ChinaDaily