China Approves 2 more Domestic Oral COVID Pills, as Effective as Paxlovid and Cheaper

Now Shenzhen   |   January 30, 2023
Anti-viral drug Photo: VCG

China on Sunday announced it has approved two more domestically developed oral COVID-19 medicines, which are reportedly as effective as and much cheaper than Pfizer’s Paxlovid.

The two drugs, used for treating adult patients with mild to moderate infections, are Xiannuoxin, jointly developed by Nanjing-based Simcere Pharmaceutical Group, as well as the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Wuhan Institute of Virology and the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, and VV116, which was jointly developed by Shanghai Vinnerna Biosciences and other research institutes based in Shanghai.

The Global Times learned from Simcere on Sunday that Xiannuoxin is a combination packaged drug of a small molecule anti- SARS-CoV-2 drug candidate and Ritonavir.

This candidate targets 3CL protease, which is essential for SARS-CoV-2’s viral replication. Paxlovid is also a designated 3CL protease inhibitor.

Phase III clinical trials have proved that the drug is effective and safe for adult patients with mild and medium symptoms. The virus load of patients appeared to decrease by 96 percent, compared with a placebo, in five days after taking the pill, according to the company.

Xiannuoxin is reportedly the first China-developed oral COVID-19 pill that targets 3CL protease. The company told the media that it would immediately launch mass production of the drug and provide it widely through hospitals and online channels.

The pills will be much cheaper than Paxlovid, the company told the Global Times on Sunday, which observers said would help expand the accessibility of COVID-19 treatment among Chinese people.

Paxlovid is priced 1,890 yuan (about $271) per pack in China.

It would not be added to the list of medicines covered by China’s basic medical insurance plans because the company’s quotation was too high, China’s Healthcare Security Administration announced in early January.

VV116 is one of the most focused China-developed COVID-19 treatment candidates. It was approved for treatment of COVID-19 in Uzbekistan in 2021.

As of January 19, a total of 10 domestically made COVID-19 drugs had either been granted official or conditional market approval or were authorized to treat symptoms of the pathogen, media reported, citing the State Council’s Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism.

ARTICLE FROM: Global Times