KUALA LUMPUR – Artequick artemisinin and piperaquine tablets have once again become buzzwords globally, as most recently, their effectiveness in treating COVID-19 was hotly debated.
As the fourth-generation artemisinin compound, artemisinin-piperaquine had been registered in dozens of countries, said Wang Xinhua, former president of Guangzhou Medical University, senior consultant at Guangdong New South Traditional Chinese Medicine Institute, and leading member of the group for artemisinin’s clinical research and application in China.
Wang added that for decades, it was widely used as an effective cure for malaria, particularly falciparum malaria.
Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the devoted team of scientists has examined the compound’s efficacy against the virus, and their breakthrough has unleashed a hot debate overseas, according to a statement.
Jointly developed by Artepharm Co Ltd, a subsidiary of Guangdong New South Group, and the Professor Li Guoqiao-led research team at Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Artequick artemisinin and piperaquine tablets were certified by China’s National Medical Products Administration as a Category I new drug in 2006.
Since last year, Guangdong New South Group, together with scientists from the Artemisinin Research Center of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine and Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Health, has conducted clinical trials for artemisinin-piperaquine in treating COVID-19 at Guangzhou Eighth People’s Hospital in Guangdong Province and Hongqi Hospital Affiliated to Mudanjiang Medical University in Heilongjiang Province.
The study found that it took 8.3 days on average for the nucleic acid test results of all 85 observation cases (who were treated with the compound) to turn negative.
And when observed on the 21st day, 98.8 per cent of them saw a negative result, and on the 28th day, 100 per cent, compared to 14.3 per cent and 58.7 per cent, respectively, for the control group of 63 infections not on artemisinin-piperaquine medication.
In many African countries, the personnel of local Chinese-funded institutions and enterprises had produced a significant result, as they adopted artemisinin-piperaquine to prevent and treat the coronavirus, Huo Jiangtao, head of Africa Guangdong Business Association noted.
No COVID-19 cases treated with the drug in the Comoros, Kenya, and some other nations have died from the disease.
The progress was lauded by Zhong Nanshan, China’s top respiratory expert. The experiment had produced “some preliminary positive results”, he said, adding that the efficacy of artemisinin-piperaquine in treating the virus should not just be based on the rate of nucleic acid tests conversing negative, but the holistic observation of genetics and meticulous verification.
The research on using artemisinin-piperaquine to treat COVID-19 has now been steadily advanced.