Vietnam trials its herbal antiviral drug VIPDERVIR 

06:00 | 31/08/2021 Science - Technology

(VEN) - The Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology held an online press conference on August 10 to announce the results of preclinical trials of VIPDERVIR, an antiviral drug that is being developed by Vietnamese researchers to help with the treatment of mild and moderate Covid-19 cases. VIPDERVIR is made of Vietnamese herbs that meet the standards of the Vietnamese Pharmacopoeia. The medicine will continue to be studied at the clinical stage and is expected to be considered for licensing by the end of the year.

Initial successful research on antiviral drug

Since the pandemic broke out early in 2020, the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology has been conducting research on ways to prevent Covid-19. It has developed a SARS-CoV-2 virus detection kit (March 3, 2020), and whole-genome sequencing of four strains of SARS-CoV-2 virus (June 1, 2021) as a basis for research of SARS-CoV-2 virus vaccines and drugs.

vietnam trials its herbal antiviral drug vipdervir

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Le Quang Huan (middle) and his associates at the Vietnam Institute of Biotechnology develop antiviral drug from Vietnamese herbs for use in Covid-19 treatment

The VIPDERVIR drug research is being conducted by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Le Quang Huan and his partners at the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology’s Vietnam Institute of Biotechnology in Hanoi. It aims to develop a herbal drug that can help treat diseases caused by RNA viruses, especially the SARS-CoV-2 virus causing the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The scientists’ proposal for a clinical trial of the drug on Covid-19 patients was approved by the Ministry of Health on August 7. If successful, it will be licensed and used to treat mild and moderate Covid-19 cases, the ministry said.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Le Quang Huan and his associates at the Vietnam Institute of Biotechnology collaborated with the Vinh Gia Pharmaceutical Joint Stock Company and Vietnam Chemico-Pharmaceutical Joint Stock Company to research and develop VIPDERVIR. The drug will be made into tablets at the Vietnam Chemico-Pharmaceutical Joint Stock Company in Hanoi, where its stability will also be tested and evaluated.

VIPDERVIR is made entirely from herbs, contains active ingredients capable of blocking target molecules involved in the invasion and replication of the coronavirus, and ingredients that activate cells in the immune system to help strengthen the patient’s resistance, Huan said.

Currently, VIPDERVIR products are prepared in the form of hard capsules.

VIPDERVIR’s acute toxicity and semi-permanent toxicity have been evaluated at the Central Institute of Drug Testing and Hanoi Medical University, while its inhibition of H5N1 and SARS-CoV-2 pathogens has been assessed at the Institute of Biotechnology and the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, respectively.

Careful, serious research

Huan and his colleagues at the institute had started studying herbs to support Covid-19 treatment from the beginning of the pandemic. With experience in processing herbal products for cancer treatment, he has taken advantage of previous studies in seeking drugs to treat Covid-19.

vietnam trials its herbal antiviral drug vipdervir

VIPDERVIR drug

The research team conducted trials of VIPDERVIR on rabbits and found that the drug is capable of preventing SARS-CoV-2 from sticking to host cells, making it impossible for the virus to infiltrate the body. VIPDERVIR also inhibits the multiplication of the virus in host cells while activating immune cells so that they can recognize, block, and eliminate it. According to Huan, VIPDERVIR has been seriously studied from basic research, carefully evaluated for safety and stability and its ability to inhibit proliferation of influenza A/H5N1 virus and the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The research results have proved that VIPDERVIR is safe and effective in impeding the development of SARS-CoV-2, as well as the H5N1 virus, the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology Vietnam said.

At an August 7 meeting, the Ethical Evaluation Committee in Biomedical Research of the Ministry of Health highly rated the results of preclinical studies and approved the clinical research protocol on Covid-19 patients for VIPDERVIR. Hopefully, the drug will have satisfactory test results and be licensed for use soon, Huan said.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Chu Hoang Ha, Vice President of Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology and Head of Vietnam Institute of Biotechnology said that with support from the Ministry of Health’s Administration of Science, Technology and Training, doctors, scientists and managers, VIPDERVIR will be fully tested for safety and effectiveness in the treatment of patients infected with Covid-19. The institute plans for the clinical trials to be carried out objectively and quickly so that if the drug proves effective, it will soon be put into use.

Vietnam has developed many drugs extracted from herbs, but this is the first to have passed preclinical research, to be approved by the Ethical Evaluation Committee in Biomedical Research of the Ministry of Health, and allowed to enter clinical trials to treat Covid-19, said Chu Hoang Ha, Vice President of the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology and Head of Vietnam Institute of Biotechnology.

Quynh Nga