Chinese HCV drug expected for commercial use

China's first oral antiviral drug, dubbed ASC08, for treating Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is going through approval procedure for general use with the food and drug authority.

The drug requires a 12-week course of treatment. Clinical tests show it can cure 90 percent of HCV patients, said chief of the development team, Wu Jinzi, who set up Ascletis Pharmaceutical in 2014 in east China's Hangzhou City for pharmaceutical development and production.

China has more than 8.5 million people with HCV. Hepatitis C can develop into fibrosis and cirrhosis of the liver and even liver cancer.

Wu said the new drug can provide an affordable and effective cure for HCV.

An HCV drug sold by American drug maker Gilead costs USD84,000 for a course of therapy, or about USD1,000 per day, far beyond the means of almost all sufferers.

Wu said the price for ASC08 has not yet been set, but it will be much cheaper than the American drug.

Source: Philippines Information Agency