Patients suffering from COVID-19 are currently receiving oxygen in order to maintain oxygen saturation in the blood in addition to drugs meant to prevent secondary infections. There is still no drug that is explicitly approved for the control of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, there is reasonable hope that some drugs already approved l for known (and related to the new corona virus) viral strains will also be able to achieve good therapeutic success with COVID-19. They are therefore currently being tested as quickly as possible in clinical trials while being used in individual cases after a careful risk-benefit analysis. The active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) contained in the drugs are produced in a complex, multi-stage chemical synthesis process using, among other things, precious metal powder catalysts from the Evonik Business Line Catalysts. "Without these catalysts, which in most cases are specially selected or developed for this application, efficient synthesis would not be possible," says Bettina Munsch, Head of Marketing & Business Development Evonik Catalysts.
The precious metal powder catalysts are essentially finely dispersed palladium applied to activated carbon as a carrier material. These highly active catalysts enable efficient hydrogenation and the deprotection of the active pharmaceutical ingredient. The catalysts can be used several times and the high-priced precious metal is recovered after use.
Evonik Catalysts currently supplies both commercial quantities for the large-scale production of active ingredients and laboratory samples for the development of new active pharmaceutical ingredients. Some active ingredients are already in clinical test phase III and are thus close to commercialization. In most countries, the production of life-saving drugs is classified as systemically relevant.
Evonik produces precious metal-containing powder catalysts at its sites in Hanau (Germany), Calvert City (USA), Dombivli (India), Shanghai (China) and Tsukuba (Japan) and is one of the largest producers worldwide with more than 70 years of experience.