The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)’s Clinical Trial Centre announced its collaboration with CUHK Medical Centre (CUHKMC) on a clinical trial to evaluate a new oral pipeline JT001 (VV116) for the early treatment of COVID-19 in patients with mild to moderate infection. The aim of the study is to understand the effectiveness of this new oral treatment in preventing patients’ conditions from progressing to severe. The study will enrol 2,000 subjects aged 18 years and over from across the globe with a recently confirmed COVID-19 infection. It is the first time Hong Kong has been involved in a clinical trial on patients using a novel oral treatment specifically developed for COVID-19.
New treatment options are needed to combat new variants of COVID-19
Hong Kong has been hit hard by the fifth wave of COVID-19. Over 9,000 patients died, with the majority of them elderly or suffering from chronic medical conditions. Beyond its immediate impact on public health, the pandemic has significantly disrupted education, productivity and the wider economy. Currently, there are two oral drugs approved for the use in patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 symptoms who are at high risk of disease progression. However, as SARS-CoV-2 variants emerge, new treatment options are desperately needed to combat the virus.
JT001 (VV116) was approved for research purposes by the National Medical Products Administration in late 2021. In animal studies, JT001 (VV116) has shown to reduce viral load and inflammation in the lungs of infected subjects. In phase 1 clinical studies with healthy volunteers, JT001 (VV116) was found to have a good safety profile.
The recent clinical study will enroll subjects aged 18 years old and over with a recently confirmed COVID-19 infection. Eligible participants will be randomly assigned to receive JT001 (VV116) or a placebo treatment for 5 days, and will be closely observed for disease progression for up to 29 days. The study will take place at the CUHKMC COVID Medical Station. Patients who have been newly infected and are interested in participating in the clinical trial will first undergo a screening process followed by the treatment.
Dr. Andrea On Yan LUK, Medical Director of the Phase 1 Clinical Trial Centre, CUHK, and Associate Professor of the Department of Medicine and Therapeutics at CUHK’s Faculty of Medicine, will be leading the study. Dr. Luk said, “New variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 will constantly emerge and spread in our community. Therefore, we need more treatment options that can help prevent progression to severe illness and complications, especially in vulnerable populations such as the elderly and those with chronic diseases. We are working closely with the medical team at the CUHKMC on the preparatory work for this study.” The team also hopes that the research data can be used by the Hospital Authority as a reference to provide more options for clinical treatment of COVID-19 patients in the future.