BEIJING, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- A pharmaceutical firm in China is claiming to have developed a cure for Ebola and has partnered with a research branch of the Chinese military to push the new drug through the approval process and to market.
The drug, JK-05, was developed by researchers with Sihuan Pharmaceutical Holdings, working in partnership with the Institute of Microbiological Epidemiology, a part of the Academy of Military Medical Sciences. Earlier this month, the drug was approved for emergency use only. But drug makers believe the drug is ready for wider use.
According to Bio Pharma Dive, the drug is a "micro-molecular chemical, which selectively contains the RNA polymerase of the Ebola virus to inhibit virus replication."
Several of the experimental drugs currently being used on Ebola patients and in Ebola studies have honed in on the virus' DNA -- the mechanism by which most viruses wield their power and attack the immune system. But Ebola is unusual in that it relies on its RNA to carry out its virulent ends.
JK-05 has been in various stages of testing for the last five years, and has reportedly performed strongly during preclinical trials and safety tests.
"We believe that we can file to the Chinese Food and Drug Administration before the end of the year," Sihuan's chairman Che Fengsheng told Pharma File. "They are looking at this very seriously... and we could get on the 'green light' track."
If JK-05 turns out to be an effective treatment, it would be quite the coup for the burgeoning Chinese pharmaceutical industry. Several drug makers in the U.S. and Europe are also working on their own versions of experimental Ebola vaccines.
Of course, such a development would also be boon to the thousands of newly diagnosed Ebola patients. Governments are growing increasingly open to fast-tracking Ebola treatments, as the outbreak continues to spread.