Hyundai Bioscience has launched the Phase II clinical trial of a new broad-spectrum antiviral agent, CP-COV03, for the treatment of Covid-19 patients.

The antiviral drug, developed in Korea as a universal treatment for diseases including Covid-19, has the ‘viral removal’ mechanism that is applicable to all viral infections.

Existing antiviral agents act on only specific viruses.

CP-COV03 is administered orally and comprises active ingredient niclosamide. It has a pharmacological action that promotes ‘autophagy’ mechanism to help human cells eliminate viruses.

In this process, cells identify the virus as a foreign substance and remove it themselves.

Hyundai Bioscience said in a statement: “If CP-COV03 is confirmed to be effective against Covid-19 in this clinical study, it means that a universal antiviral drug is born not only for Covid-19 and its variants, but also for almost all other viruses such as influenza, hepatitis, AIDS, Ebola, and herpes.”

CP-COV03, which is currently evaluated in Phase II clinical trial, is similar to the human efficacy test of penicillin conducted in 1941, in several ways.

Hyundai Bioscience further added: “The discovery of a substance with the mechanism that kills bacteria led to the 20th century medicine called penicillin and that CP-COV03 with a mechanism to eliminate viruses by promoting autophagy will be the first universal antiviral drug like penicillin.”

As a broad-spectrum antiviral agent, CP-COV03 is expected to enable a quick preemptive treatment for viral infection, thereby preventing pandemics.

In December last year, Hyundai Bioscience reported that a combination of CP-COV03 with anti-inflammatory therapy, dexamethasone, showed to be effective in people with severe Covid-19, in a study.