LONDON – The World Health Organization (WHO) has released its COVID-19 R&D roadmap, highlighting the gaps in knowledge about the virus and setting out priorities for research. The organization is now calling on groups around the world to use the document – drawn up by 400 experts – to coordinate their efforts.
A list of biopharma companies and nonprofit entities, including academia, working feverishly to find a vaccine or antiviral treatment to address the rapidly spreading coronavirus, now known as COVID-19, has more than doubled, increasing from about 30 a few weeks ago to 71 as of March 6.
Vir Biotechnology Inc. and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc. are expanding an infectious disease collaboration begun three years ago to take on the coronavirus. The effort now includes developing and commercializing RNAi therapies targeting SARS-CoV-2, the virus that triggers COVID-19, by developing siRNAs identified by Alnylam.
Concerns about the escalating global spread of COVID-19 panicked the markets big time at the close of the month. With investors rushing to the sidelines, it only took five days for the Dow Jones Industrial Average to drop more than 10% from its all-time high, getting close to the 30,000 mark.
Under steady pressure to accelerate development of vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 and treatments for COVID-19 as the global death toll reached 3,085 people on the afternoon of March 2, biopharma companies continued to detail progress, including in updates at a White House meeting between pharmaceutical executives and administration officials, including President Donald Trump.
COVID-19 is bringing more pressure to bear on Congress to pass S. 2723, the Mitigating Emergency Drug Shortages (MEDS) Act, which has been sitting in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee since Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced it in October 2019 – a few months before the novel coronavirus emerged.
LONDON – The EU launched a “Corona” response team, bringing together oversight of all the separate strands put in place to control the virus, as the infection spread to 18 of 27 member states, with 2,100 confirmed cases and 31 deaths.
Rated the No. 1 most prepared country in the world to tackle an epidemic, the U.S. could see its preparedness put to the test as it responds to the growing COVID-19 outbreak. While the administration is pointing to that rating from a recent global survey to calm fears about the risk in the U.S., the coronavirus emergency is spotlighting cracks in the nation’s preparedness.
LONDON – The COVID-19 epidemic has reached a “decisive point” as the number of new cases in the rest of the world exceeded the number of new cases in China, and seven countries reported infections for the first time.
DUBLIN – Could a recombinant human protein drug rejected by Glaxosmithkline plc in 2019 benefit patients with COVID-19 infection? Apeiron Biologics AG disclosed Wednesday Feb. 26 that an investigator-initiated pilot study of APN-01 is getting underway in Guangzhou, China.