Chinese drug maker sends Ebola drug to Africa, eyes clinical trials.
Chinese drug maker, Sihuan Pharmaceutical Holdings Group, has sent an experimental Ebola drug to Africa on October 16, 2014 to be used by Chinese aid workers situated there. The company has stated that it has plans to conduct clinical trials in the affected regions to counter the lethal outbreak.
The firm has dispatched several thousand doses of its drug JK-05 to the region, with more doses ready to be sent, if required. The drug, initially developed by the Academy of Military Medical Sciences (AMMS), has been approved in China for only emergency military use after passing animal testing on mice.
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa, worst in the history of epidemics, has killed more than 4,000 people till date.
Governments, drug makers and authorities around the world have been struggling against time to find a safe treatment for the outbreak. The disease has crossed borders into the US and Europe, eliciting an immediate, aggressive response from most leading nations.
Sihuan, China’s third largest pharmaceutical company, is partly-owned by US investment bank Morgan Stanley. It was originally a military research unit that was spun into its current drug manufacturing role. The company has signed an agreement with AMMS to get approval for use in China and push it to market on a fast track basis.
China has so far sent hundreds of medical aid workers to Africa to assist the ailing population in Ebola stricken regions, along with contributing $35 million in medical aid. There are about a million Chinese nationals living in Africa.
At present, ZMapp and TKM-Ebola developed by the US are the only drugs that have been tested on monkeys and used on Ebola patients. Japanese firm Fujifilm Holdings too had stated last week that the French and Guinean governments were considering clinical trials of the influenza drug Favipiravir, developed by Japanese firm Toyama Chemical, to treat patients Ebola infected patients.
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