SEOUL, Sept. 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said Thursday that it has approved advanced clinical trials for Celltrion Inc.'s CT-P59 treatment material that could be used to combat the novel coronavirus.
The phase two and three trials to be conducted on the antiviral antibody treatment candidate substance developed by the local biopharmaceutical firm come after initial tests carried out on healthy people showed the material is not harmful for use.
The next stage of trials will be conducted on people with mild and severe symptoms, which will allow researchers to better check CT-P59's efficacy against COVID-19 and its overall safety, the ministry said.
The phase two trials will be conducted on 300 people to determine the appropriate dosage that needs to be given. Phase three, involving some 720 people, will be carried out to see if the candidate material is actually effective against viral infections, according to the ministry.
Celltrion said that besides South Korea, it has requested clinical trials of CT-P59 in the United States, Romania and three other countries as part of its ongoing effort to find viable treatment materials to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Related to the latest approval, the state-run Korea National Enterprise for Clinical Trials said earlier in the day that Seoul has approved 23 different clinical trials for treatment candidate materials. Of these, 21 are treatment drugs materials and two are potential vaccines.