Taiwan hopeful about self-producing COVID-19 treatment remdesivir

Taiwan researchers successfully imitate small compounds of experimental antiviral drug

Taiwan successful recreates small compounds of remdesivir. (Twitter photo)

Taiwan successful recreates small compounds of remdesivir. (Twitter photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's National Health Research Institutes (NHRI) said Thursday (Feb. 20) that researchers have successfully recreated small compounds of antiviral treatment remdesivir, and the country will likely be able to produce the American antiviral drug in the next few weeks.

During a progress report to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), the NHRI Vice President Huey-Kang Sytwu (司徒惠康) pointed out that researchers have managed to develop milligrams of remdesivir, a drug which has shown promising results in Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) patients. He expects that the trial level can be upgraded within the next two weeks, potentially enabling Taiwan to produce its own remdesivir soon.

Tsai complimented Sytwu and his team for the "major medical breakthrough" and said that she had received the exciting news Thursday morning from Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中). Tsai said that the completion of the trials signifies Taiwan's ability to develop life-saving medication, reported Liberty Times.

A product of American biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, remdesivir was administered to a COVID-19 patient in the U.S. who later made extreme progress in his condition. Though it has not yet been confirmed that remdesivir can help patients outside of the lab, pre-clinical testing in animal models from the past have found the drug to be effective against both Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen arrives at National Health Research Institutes Feb. 20. (CNA photo)