LONDON – As the death toll passed 1,000 and the number of confirmed cases reached 42,000, the World Health Organization on Feb. 11 convened 400 scientists at a global research forum to draw up an R&D blueprint for COVID-19.
The drug screens prompted by the SARS and MERS outbreaks have been useful for quickly identifying drug candidates. But in terms of their epidemiology, “SARS and MERS were different from this coronavirus,” Allison McGeer explained at a Feb. 3 webinar by Evercore ISI.
HONG KONG – As drug developers are racing to find a cure for the new coronavirus, researchers in Hong Kong claim to have made major headway in the development of a vaccine for the virus that has so far killed 132. Yuen Kwok-yung, the chair of infectious diseases at the University of Hong Kong’s (HKU) department of microbiology, said in a press briefing at Hong Kong’s Queen Mary Hospital that his team had successfully isolated the novel virus from the first imported case in Hong Kong. But he said the vaccine still needs months to be tested on animals and an additional year for human trials before it is fit for use.
BEIJING – China will kickstart a phase III trial Feb. 3 to determine whether patients with 2019-nCoV can be treated with Gilead Sciences Inc.’s NUC inhibitor, remdesivir, which was originally developed for Ebola, four days after a U.S. patient was said to have recovered by using the drug candidate.
Salt Lake City-based Co-Diagnostics Inc. has finished the principle design work for a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) screening test for the novel coronavirus that has sickened nearly 3,000 with an acute respiratory illness and killed more than 80 people in Wuhan, China.
BEIJING – With promising phase II data in hand – and newly designated FDA orphan drug status – Suzhou, China-based Tennor Therapeutics Suzhou Co. Ltd. is gearing up to move into pivotal testing with TNP-2092 to treat prosthetic joint infections.
LONDON – After a second day of deliberation, the World Health Organization (WHO) held off declaring that the novel coronavirus infection raging in Wuhan is an international health emergency, saying the low number of cases outside China means it is not time to escalate the response to this level.