At the start of the pandemic, HWGB Biotech Sdn Bhd (FKA HWG Consortim Sdn Bhd) (HWGB Biotech) , a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ho Wah Genting Bhd has accelerated its efforts to invest in the awaited clinical trials to establish the efficacy and safety profile of oral polio vaccine (OPV) for prevention of COVID-19.
Upon approval by the FDA, clinical trials will be conducted in key continents across the globe to test the effectiveness of OPV.
Considering the emergency situation, the drug repurposing approach is being widely applied to quickly identify therapeutic solutions due to availability of their pharmacokinetic, toxicological and manufacturing data. Drug repurposing includes drugs that are either FDA approved, investigational, withdrawn or shelved molecules. Although there are studies of the repurposing and marketed drugs which proposed several candidates for SARS-CoV-2 treatment.
Currently no fully approved medicine available for the treatment of COVID-19, and it is unlikely any medicine tailor-made for this disease will be developed anywhere in a short period. What we are doing instead is trying to repurpose existing medicines that are likely to have some effect on the virus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is currently conducting Solidarity Clinical Trials on a set of antivirals to see if they provide relief in helping the body to fight the virus. The sets of examples being tested are: a) remdesivir, b) chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine. Remdesivir is an investigational medicine with good activity to kill virus. It was originally developed for hepatitis C, where results were disappointing, but the drug was then repurposed as a potential treatment for Ebola virus disease. On the other hand, hydroxychloroquine is widely used as an anti-malarial drug, as well as for lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Compared with hydroxychloroquine, remdesivir is currently under patent protection.
Remdesivir was issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) back in April 2020, and has been studied in COVID-19 patients who are experiencing severe respiratory issues (https://trib.al/oZqwuRq). Gilead Sciences Inc. (Gilead) has submitted a New Drug Application (NDA) to FDA for remdesivir for the treatment of patients with severe COVID-19. The antiviral medication is currently authorized for emergency use on the patient population Gilead seeks approval for.
The first case to present with SARS-CoV-2 in the U.S. was treated on the seventh day of hospitalization, and his condition was reportedly improving on the eighth day with parenteral remdesivir in January 2020 (Amirian and Levy, 2020). Treatment discontinuation after respiratory symptoms improvement (total duration of four days, five days, and ten days), remdesivir showed proper safety and pharmacokinetics profile in Phase I trials. Phase II clinical trials have revealed human tolerance to remdesivir. Of the 175 patients in Phase II clinical trials administering remdesivir, nine had severe adverse reactions, eight of whom were considered not related to drugs. In China, there are two currently ongoing Phase 3, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled multicentre clinical trials. They have been submitted to https://clinicaltrials.gov on 31 January 2020 and are designed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of parenteral remdesivir in hospitalized adults with mild-to-moderate and severe COVID-19, i.e., NCT04257656 (https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04257656) and NCT04252664 (https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04252664) (Ko et al., 2020).
ABOUT HO WAH GENTING BERHAD
Ho Wah Genting
or the “Company”) is principally engaged in investment holdings and the
provision of management services to its subsidiaries. The Company had on 30
June 2020 diversified its existing businesses to include healthcare related
industry which mainly involved in Health Supplement, Biotechnology and Health
Technology. In addition, the Company and its subsidiaries (“HWGB Group”
or the “Group”) are also engaging in the businesses of Investment
holdings; manufacturing of wire and cable and moulded power supply cord sets
and cable assemblies for electrical and electronic devices and equipment;
trading of wire and cable; and travel agent and tour related services.