Candidate: Chloroquine phosphate (marketed by Bayer as Resochin®)
Type: Phosphate salt of chloroquine, a quinoline compound with antimalarial and anti-inflammatory properties. Resochin was discovered by Bayer and introduced into clinical practice in 1947 to treat malaria.
Status: German federal health minister Jens Spahn on April 3 told the newspaper Bild that he hoped Resochin will prove effective against COVID-19, while cautioning that further studies were needed. Chloroquine has “shown fairly good efficacy” according to Sun Yanrong, deputy head of the China National Center for Biotechnology Development under the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), the state-owned Xinhua news agency reported on February 17, following clinical trials in over 10 hospitals in Beijing, as well as in south China’s Guangdong Province and central China’s Hunan Province.
In March, researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia said they hoped to launch large-scale trials of chloroquine, as well as AbbVie’s Kaletra® (See above), after both drugs successfully treated patients with COVID-19. Chinese news outlet Shine reported that Bayer had donated about €1.5 million (about $1.7 million) in medicines and additional financial aid to the Chinese Red Cross to support prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and containment of COVID-19 in China. Bayer’s Kunming, China factory mobilized 50,000 disposable surgical masks and 10,000 R95 medical masks to donate to the Kunming Red Cross Society, in response to a call from the Yunnan Provincial Department of Commerce.
Chloroquine and remdesivir were “highly effective in the control of 2019-nCoV infection in vitro,” a team of Chinese researchers reported in a study published February 4 in Cell Research. After China’s National Health Commission included chloroquine phosphate in its latest treatment guidelines for COVID-19 pneumonia, eight Chinese companies sped up manufacturing and supply of the drug, Shanghai Daily reported February 20.
COVID-19: 200 Candidates and Counting
To navigate through the >200 potential therapeutic and vaccine options for COVID-19, GEN has grouped the candidates into four broad categories based on their developmental and (where applicable) clinical progress:
● FRONT RUNNER – the most promising therapeutics/vaccines based on clinical progress, favorable data or both.
● DEFINITELY MAYBE – earlier phases with promising partners, or more advanced candidates in development that have generated uneven data
● KEEPING AN EYE ON… – interesting technology, attracting notable partners, or both, but preliminary data.
● TOO SOON TO TELL – longshots pending additional experimental and/or clinical data.
GEN has also tagged the most common treatment types: