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S. Korea begins reviewing 1st blood plasma therapy for COVID-19

This undated photo, provided by South Korean biotech company GC Pharma, shows a company official at its plant. (Yonhap)
This undated photo, provided by South Korean biotech company GC Pharma, shows a company official at its plant. (Yonhap)


South Korea's drug safety agency said Friday that it has begun reviewing a plasma therapy treatment against the novel coronavirus by local biotech company GC Pharma for conditional approval.

The plasma therapy, dubbed GC5131A, is a type of hyperimmune globulin drug that uses blood plasma taken from people who have fully recovered from COVID-19, according to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.

If approved, the investigative drug will be the country's first blood plasma cure for the deadly disease and the second homegrown COVID-19 treatment.

Earlier, biopharmaceutical company Celltrion Inc. won conditional approval of its antibody treatment for COVID-19, named Rekirona.

GC Pharma said it has already completed the production of its third batch, meaning the treatment candidate is expected to be available at medical institutions immediately.

Experimental drugs under clinical trial are sometimes granted approval for emergency usage from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety in cases where diseases are life-threatening and there is no other treatment option.

People who have recovered from COVID-19 develop natural defenses against the disease in their blood, in which antibodies are found in the part of the blood called plasma, the company said.

A key to developing potential hyperimmune globulin treatment is the collection of convalescent plasma.(Yonhap)
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