SEOUL -- Celltrion, a South Korean bio firm involved in a project to find the treatment of COVID-19 patients, will begin clinical trials this month with the candidate for antibody treatment that was found to be more effective in neutralizing the mutant strain of the new coronavirus.
Celltrion said it would begin clinical trials on July 16. Its goal is to mass-produce therapeutic antibodies in the first half of next year. The Korea National Institute of Health, a state research body, has selected Celltrion as a cooperation partner to develop vaccines and medicine. The company has verified selected candidates for antibody treatment.
In an evaluation test conducted by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), Celltrion's antibody treatment was found to be more effective in neutralizing the mutated strain of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that was identified in genetic data of samples collected from patients from abroad.
Based on the outcome of gene sequencing released on July 6, KCDC director Jeong Eun-kyeong attributed the recent spread of COVID-19 in South Korea to the genetic strain which has been widely reported in Europe and other regions. She said that the mutant strain has higher propagation than the virus that hit South Korea earlier.
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