China manufactures first COVID-19 antiviral pill, adding oral option
China starts to manufacture its first homegrown antiviral COVID-19 pill after gaining approval from the National Medical Products Administration last month, the company said on Tuesday.
The drug, Azvudine, developed by Chinese drugmaker Genuine Biotech, is widely known for treating HIV-1 virus, which the company was first approved for in July last year.
It now adds a China-made oral antiviral option against the coronavirus apart form Pfizer's Paxlovid that was approved for use in February.
The Azvudine tablet is a small-molecule oral drug that acts as a reverse transcriptase inhibitor and can therefore impede the replication of RNA viruses such as HIV and the coronavirus.
It has been given a conditional green light to treat adult patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 conditions.
In a late-stage clinical trial, 40.4 percent of patients taking Azvudine showed improvement in symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever and coughing,
seven days after first taking the drug, compared with 10.9 percent in the control group, the company said in a statement earlier July.
Multiple clinical trials of the tablet have been conducted in China, Brazil and Russia in phase III clinical study since 2020.
Genuine Biotech submitted an initial public offering (IPO) application to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on August 4.
The company said in its offerings that it has the capacity to produce about one billion tablets of Azvudine a year.