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Tuesday 28 Jan 2020 , 3:12 pm

Hopes for Coronavirus Drugs, Global Pharma Sector on a Mission

The coronavirus is spreading rapidly and caused deaths in China. Unfortunately, there is not treatment or drug available to cure it so global pharmaceutical firms and organizations have jumped to try and come up with a product to use against this virus.
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The novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has caused 106 deaths in China and more than 4,000 patients are confirmed with its infection. Even if China has stopped the domestic and international transportation to prevent its spread, there are confirmed cases of infection reported in the countries including the United States, East Asia, Australia, Germany, France, and Canada.

With the increasing demands and concerns, many healthcare organizations, pharmaceutical companies and medical institutions have jumped to try and come up with a product to use against this virus. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also announced that it will collaborate with the international partners, product developers, and regulators to expedite the development and availability of medical products needed for the prevention, diagnosis, mitigation and treatment of the coronavirus outbreak. Also, the organization has committed to share all updates on the processes to help developers understand the pathways.

In a statement, FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D. said, “We are actively leveraging the vast breadth of the FDA’s expertise and have begun employing the full range of our public health authorities to facilitate the development and availability of investigational medical products to help address this urgent public health situation.”

A public-private alliance, The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), has awarded grants to Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and researchers at University of Queensland to develop a vaccine strain of coronavirus.

Also, Moderna, Inc., a clinical stage biotechnology company, announced a new collaboration with National Institute of Health (NIH) to develop an mRNA vaccine against the coronavirus funded by CEPI. According to the agreement, Moderna will manufacture the vaccine and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of NIH, will conduct IND-enabling studies and a Phase 1 clinical study in the U.S.

People queueing outside a Wuhan pharmacy to buy face masks and medical supplies (Source: Wikipedia)

Private organizations are also seen preparing to fight the disease. For example, a molecular diagnostics company, Co-Diagnostics announced that it has completed principle design work for a PCR screening test for new coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, intended to address potential need for detection of the virus.

In a press note released by Co-Diagnostics, Dwight Egan, CEO of Co-Diagnostics, commented, “We believe that if the WHO takes the step of declaring the illness a global health emergency following collection of more data in the days and weeks to come, Co-Diagnostics will be well positioned to quickly assist in providing these state of the art tools to affected countries.”

As the deadly virus spreads, global stocks and oil markets are facing downfall, but these pharmaceutical companies are seeing the gains. It was observed that shares of the Inovio and Moderna jumped on Monday by 40% and 9% respectively.

Cross-sectional model of a coronavirus (Source: Wikipedia)

This coronavirus was detected through the cases of pneumonia in Wuhan City, China on January 7, 2020. Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment or medicine available for 2019-nCov infection. According to the recommendations by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), infected patients should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. Also the treatment for severe cases should include care to support vital organ functions.

All the drug makers are on the beginning stages and nobody knows how long it will take to come up with the product. Also the product will need accurate testing and approvals from various healthcare regulators to introduce them in the market. Experts opine that it is very risky to invest in the pharmaceutical firms due to the uncertain results.

Neha Mule

Neha writes articles on sectors including medicine, food, materials, and science & technology. A qualified statistician, she has the ability to observe and analyze the trends in global markets and write compelling articles that help CXOs in decision making. She is a bookworm and loves to read fiction, lifestyle, science and technology. Neha comes with 6 years of experience in content writing and editing that involves blog writing, preparation of study materials and OERs.

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