(Yicai Global) Feb. 19 -- China's Guangzhou Pharmaceutical Holdings has ended a two-decade break to resume the production of an antimalarial drug with proven Covid-19 suppressing abilities.
Guangzhou Pharmaceutical will soon bring the first batch of 500,000 tablets of chloroquine onto the Chinese mainland market, The Paper reported. The products were prepared in a day after the southern Chinese firm got the green light to restart production on Feb. 17. The maximum capacity is 2 million units per day.
China has 23 firms that have the license to make chloroquine, the biggest of which is Shanghai Pharmaceuticals Holding, but many have stopped due to the country's scarce malaria cases. However, the virus outbreak that has claimed 2,008 lives in China has shaken up the medical sector to brush up on old skills.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology, administered by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said on Feb. 4 that chloroquine and US Gilead Sciences's antiviral drug remdesivir have been useful in treating Covid-19. Since then, more than 10 hospitals in different cities have tested these drugs on patients with positive results.
Chloroquine is cheaper than remdesivir but with similar effects, an industry insider told The Paper. Experts have recommended the antimalarial drug to be added to the national Covid-19 treatment plan, the Ministry of Science and Technology's spokesperson said at a press conference on Feb. 17.
Chloroquine is not the ultimate cure for all Covid-19 patients but it can help without many side effects, Zhong Nanshan, academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said at a press conference yesterday.
Editor: Emmi Laine