Bukwang Pharmaceutical said on March 10 that its hepatitis B (HBV) infection treatment Levovir (component name: clevudine) has showed similar results to Kaletra, which is used to treat COVID-19 patients, in in-vitro tests of viruses from Korean COVID-19 patients’ samples. The company has applied for a patent.
The main ingredient of Kaletra currently used as a treatment for the novel coronavirus was used as the positive control group. Levovir showed a similar degree of inhibition to Kaletra in plaque reduction tests and RT-PCR (Real-Time PCR) tests.
Clevudine is an antiviral drug developed by Bukwang Pharmaceutical. The drug came out as the world’s fourth and Asia’s first hepatitis B virus killer. Clevudine is a nucleic acid analog that has a mechanism of inhibiting the replication of viral genetic materials.
However, the mechanism of clevudine suppressing novel coronavirus infections has not been clarified yet. Kaletra has been used as a treatment for AIDS. Remdesivir, which is being tested as a treatment for the COVID-19 virus, is also a treatment for the Ebola virus.
"When we develop an existing drug as a treatment for other diseases, we can shorten the development period as we already have data on long-term toxicity," Bukwang Pharmaceutical said. "Based on the test results, we will discuss future development plans with the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety."