China sends Ebola drug to Africa

2014-10-16 09:28

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Shanghai - A Chinese drugmaker with military ties has sent an experimental Ebola drug to Africa for use by Chinese aid workers and is planning clinical trials there to combat a deadly outbreak of the disease, executives say.

Sihuan Pharmaceutical Holdings Group has supplied several thousand doses of its drug JK-05 to the region, chief operating officer Jia Zhongxin said. More doses could be sent if needed, Jia said.

An Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the worst on record, has killed more than 4 000 people.

Governments and drugmakers around the globe have been racing to find a treatment for the outbreak, which has spread as far as the United States and Europe. US President Barack Obama has pledged to get more "aggressive" against the disease.

"Aid workers have already taken the drug with them, and if a case breaks out (amongst the aid workers), then the drug may be used," added Huo Caixia, Sihuan's assistant general manager.

Sihuan, part-owned by US investment bank Morgan Stanley , is hoping to get the drug fast-tracked for civilian use in China.

It has signed an agreement with the Academy of Military Medical Sciences a research unit, to seek approval for the drug's use in China and push it to market.

The drug, approved in China for emergency military use only, was initially developed by AMMS.

If it proves to be an effective cure it would be a big prize for China's medical sector and a boost to the country's soft power in Africa, an increasingly important partner for the world's No 2 economy.

Read more on:    china  |  ebola

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