GC Pharma's plasma treatment allowed for actual use in treating COVID-19 patients

By Lim Chang-won Posted : October 20, 2020, 15:33 Updated : October 20, 2020, 15:33

[Yonhap Photo]

SEOUL -- An immunoglobulin drug based on plasma containing antibodies won special approval to be used for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. The drug developed by GC Pharma, a biotech company in South Korea, has yet to complete clinical trials, but a state public health watchdog gave permission for critically ill patients who do not have other means of treatment.

The green light came from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, which allowed Kyungpook National University Hospital to administer GC5131A to patients hospitalized for COVID-19. GC Pharma has increased the production of GC5131A significantly for actual use in treating patients.

Plasma treatment is different from plasma therapy involving the infusion of blood plasma from COVID-19 survivors. GC5131A is still in a second-stage clinical study involving 60 people at six hospitals to set proper dosage and check safety and efficacy. Third-sage clinical trials will be carried out abroad.

South Korea has unveiled a roadmap for the treatment of COVID-19 to develop plasma treatment by the year's end as well as antibody treatment and vaccines next year. Second and third-stage clinical trials are under way to verify the efficacy and safety of Celltrion's COVID-19 antibody treatment, CT-P59. Celltrion has vowed to complete preparations for the mass supply of therapeutic antibodies for emergency domestic use by the end of this year.
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