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COVID-19 Clinical Development Advancements in Southeast Asia

Clinical trials are a critical phase in the development of any new medicine. They are vital to determining the impact the treatment may have on patients. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, clinical researchers throughout Southeast Asia have been working rapidly to test investigational medicines and identify possible vaccine candidates that may treat patients and prevent further spread of the virus.

Among these regional efforts are Phase 1 clinical trials to evaluate TY027, the first novel monoclonal antibody that specifically targets SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, initiated by the Singapore-based clinical-stage biotechnology company Tychan. In a press release Tychan said that TY027 has shown full clearance of the virus in laboratory studies, demonstrated safety in preclinical trials and achieved a successful three-week drug stability test. With approval from the Singapore Health Sciences Authority, Tychan’s Phase 1 trials will be conducted by SingHealth Investigational Medicine Unit.

Likewise, Bio Farma, an Indonesian vaccine manufacturer, has teamed up with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation and Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech to develop a potential COVID-19 vaccine, called CoronaVac. Preliminary results from a Phase 2 study showed no severe side effects in patients induced with the neutralizing antibodies. Although clinical trials are expected to continue through the third quarter of this year, Bio Farma is prepared to produce two billion doses annually and is “capable of catering for the entire region’s vaccine demand.”

Patients are relying on researchers throughout the region to explore creative solutions that expeditiously move promising potential treatments and vaccines forward, including accelerating early phases of clinical research and completing various phases simultaneously. Likewise, researchers are depending on governments to promote and maintain effective intellectual property protections necessary to drive and sustain discovery.

These efforts and protections, coupled with ongoing public-private support and partnerships, can power continuity in clinical research and help bring healthy innovation to those impacted by COVID-19.

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