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Covid-19 antiviral drug to be trialled in SA

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South Africa will be one of four countries to conduct phase II of a Covid-19 antiviral drug trial.

SOUTH Africa will be one of four countries to conduct phase II of a Covid-19 antiviral drug trial.

Developed by Code Pharma, a Dutch pharmaceutical company, Codivir has shown promising effects against Covid-19.

Following the successful completion of a phase I study, the company is now initiating a phase II double-blind controlled study in Spain, Brazil, South Africa and Israel.

The antiviral drug is a short synthetic 16 amino-acid peptide and was originally discovered at the Hebrew University in Israel.

Code Pharma discovered that this peptide had a direct antiviral effect against Covid-19 after in-vitro studies were conducted at the British virology research laboratory, Virology Research Services in London.

Results from phase I found that Codivir might have a similar beneficial effect on other RNA viruses such as influenza.

Phase I was conducted in São Paulo, Brazil, where researchers discovered that Codivir had a high safety profile while significantly suppressing viral replication in most of the fully assessed patients.

All patients recovered quickly after the treatment with Codivir and did not show any side-effects often associated with Covid-19 infections.

Lead authors on the research paper from the Department of Medicine at Hadassah Medical Center, Dr Yotam Kolben and Dr Asa Kesler said the antiviral drug carried the potential for improving the current therapies available for Covid-19.

“The pre-clinical data and the results of the clinical trial support the safety of Codivir administration in humans and suggest its significant anti-Covid-19 effect,” said the authors.

Professor Shlomo Maayan, director of the Infectious Disease division at the Barzilai Medical Center, said Codivir had a very good safety profile and an impressive antiviral effect, both in laboratory conditions and in the phase I clinical trials.

“We eagerly await the results of the double-blind studies using Codivir. It may be a breakthrough in the field of antiviral therapy for Covid-19 patients,” said Maayan.

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