The gold content of new drugs is not speculation

  Recently, the news that "Chinese scientists have discovered and patented a new drug for the treatment of COVID-19" has been widely spread.

The concept stocks of "Qianjin vinesu" rose sharply. After that, many listed companies intensively refuted rumors that they had not conducted relevant research, and many related concept stocks fell immediately.

  What exactly is fenugreek?

Can it really treat the new crown?

  Cinnamon is an alkaloid, which is an active ingredient extracted from the vines of the genus Cinnamon.

As a compound, it was successfully extracted by Japanese scientists as early as the 1930s.

The Chinese patent medicine Qianjintiansu tablets has been marketed at home and abroad, with decades of clinical use history, mainly used for leukopenia caused by radiotherapy and chemotherapy in tumor patients.

  The hyped up fenugreek patent this time is not a patent for the compound of fenugreek, but a patent for the use of fenugreek to inhibit coronavirus.

After the outbreak of the new crown epidemic in January 2020, the team of the patent inventor and Professor Tong Yigang of Beijing University of Chemical Technology screened out the one with the strongest inhibitory effect on the coronavirus from thousands of drugs on the market.

The team filed patent priority in February of that year and published the paper in March of that year.

Since then, the effect of fenugreek against the new coronavirus has been verified by many laboratories in Japan and the United States.

  However, the patent is only based on the findings in in vitro experiments, and has not undergone clinical trials and has not been approved for new drug indications.

A compound that can kill viruses in in vitro experiments is still far from becoming a clinical drug, and the final failure rate is also very high.

For example, a professional research report last year pointed out that among 12,728 projects in the United States from 2011 to 2020, it was found that the average success rate of drug development projects from Phase 1 clinical trials to obtaining FDA approval for marketing was 7.9%, and the average time required was 10.5%. year.

  The discovery of Tong Yigang's team can only show that fenugreek is a potential drug candidate.

Against such a background, it is inexplicable to hype the concept of fenugreek as a "new drug" for the treatment of the new crown.

  So, is there any development prospect for the vines?

Does it have gold content?

  Screening old drugs to treat new diseases is a common low-cost and high-efficiency drug development model "reuse of old drugs".

A brand new drug needs to be verified whether it can be safely used in the human body, which takes a long time to develop and takes huge risks; while an old drug has been verified for safety, it only needs to be confirmed that it is effective for new indications, which will greatly shorten drug development. Time also increases the probability of success.

  Whether it is new drug development or new use of old drugs, clinical trials are essential and costly.

It is understood that Tong Yigang's team has not yet found a pharmaceutical company that is willing to cooperate in development, and a Canadian pharmaceutical company has approached the US FDA to carry out a clinical trial study of fenugreek in the treatment of new crowns, which is expected to be launched in the second half of this year.

  As a Chinese herbal medicine, Qianjinteng has a long history, and it is recorded in the Tang Dynasty medicine book "Compendium of Materia Medica".

However, fenugreek is extracted by Japanese scientists, and the clinical trial of fenugreek in the treatment of new crown may also be preempted by Canadian pharmaceutical companies.

  This is reminiscent of artemisinin.

Pharmacist Tu Youyou took inspiration from the Eastern Jin medical book "Elbow Recipe for Emergency Medicine", and her team successfully extracted artemisinin in the early 1970s, which later became a special medicine for malaria.

However, my country did not pay enough attention to intellectual property at that time, and the chemical structure of artemisinin was disclosed in a related paper published in 1977.

Since then, foreign pharmaceutical companies have applied for a large number of peripheral patents for artemisinin based on the core technology disclosed in my country.

my country is the original country of artemisinin, but it has not become the leader of the artemisinin drug industry chain, which must be said to be a pity.

  Traditional Chinese medicine has a history of thousands of years in my country. Extracting and discovering compounds with curative effect from traditional Chinese medicine prescriptions is a feasible way to develop new drugs.

However, in the capital market to stir up the concept, the real gold content of Qianjintansu cannot be fried.

To dig a real "gold mine" in the treasure house of traditional Chinese medicine, more scientists need to invest in arduous basic research, and more pharmaceutical companies need to invest real money in clinical research.

  She Huimin

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