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.
Adding further evidence about the global threat of the increase of antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) infections and dearth of new antibiotics to treat those conditions, Thomas Cueni, chair of the AMR Industry Alliance, said the findings from the alliance’s newly released report are “a wake-up call” as they estimate current investments in AMR-relevant R&D are not enough to sustain a viable pipeline that will be needed to combat infectious diseases globally.
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.