An oral antiviral agent called VV116, which is a potent anti-COVID-19 drug, is just as effective as Paxlovid in increasing the speed of clinical recovery, according to a scientific study published on Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The China-developed anti-coronavirus drug has shown improved performance during the early onset of Omicron infections. Its developers include several institutes under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Previously, a preliminary small-scale study showed a shorter viral shedding time in patients with COVID-19 who received VV116 within five days after the first positive test than in those who received regular care.
Those in the treatment group, who received VV116 within five days of their first positive test, had an average viral shedding time of 8.56 days, while those in the control group had an average time of 11.13 days.
In the new study published Wednesday, in a phase-3, randomized trial during the outbreak caused by the Omicron variant, the median time to sustained clinical recovery for the VV116 group was four days, compared to five days for those taking Paxlovid.
Among adults with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 who were at risk of progression, at seven hospitals in Shanghai, VV116 was not inferior to Paxlovid or nirmatrelvir-ritonavir and showed fewer safety concerns, according to the study.
As the global supply of Paxlovid is currently falling short of demand, VV116 can be considered a better option, said the researchers.