The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a "public health emergency of international concern" over the global outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), reversing a week-ago decision by its International Health Regulations Emergency Committee. The move comes "not because of what is happening in China, but because of what is happening in other countries," said WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, noting his confidence in China’s capacity to control the outbreak. "Our greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems, and which are ill-prepared to deal with it," he said.
BEIJING – Chinese regulators are speeding up to approve more test kits for the deadly coronavirus that already has killed 170 people and infected more than 7,700 globally. Companies also are working around the clock to develop better products and maintain supplies.
Biopharma happenings, including deals and partnerships, grants, preclinical data and other news in brief: Advaccine, Allergan, Aptinyx, BGI, Biocorrx, Cortexyme, Curetis, Dare, Evotec, Histogen, Inovio, Iteos, Theraly, Tonix.
Stryker Corp., of Kalamazoo, Mich., saw strength in the fourth quarter, with Mako experiencing good uptake in total knee arthroplasty. Katherine Owen, Stryker’s vice president of strategy & investor relations, said Mako demand was driven by the benefits of its robotic technology, multiple applications and the ability to do cementless knee.
LONDON – It has gone from “pneumonia of unknown cause” affecting 44 patients in Wuhan, China, on Jan. 5, 2020, to spark a global health alert, with the World Health Organization (WHO) now looking likely to declare the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) less than four weeks later.
Despite pressure from several lawmakers to declare the new coronavirus a U.S. public health emergency, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar said such a declaration isn’t needed, at least not yet.
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.