As the threat of the novel coronavirus continues to grow globally, innovative biopharmaceutical companies are ramping up efforts to study the virus and develop vaccines and cures to protect individuals from contracting the virus.
More than 75,000 cases have been confirmed worldwide—and the numbers are climbing with over 1,000 cases outside mainland China, where the virus originated.
To counter this threat, the U.S. biopharmaceutical industry is working closely with U.S. government agencies, Chinese authorities, and the World Health Organization to identify their most pressing needs in the areas of vaccination, diagnostics, and antivirals and other treatments, and to facilitate collaborations with industry.
Here’s a snapshot of how our industry – comprised of innovators both large and small – is responding:
- A biotech innovator – in partnership with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) – has developed a vaccine using mRNA technology with hopes to begin human tests of their product in April.
- At least a dozen companies have begun or accelerated development of vaccines and antiviral therapies.
- A leading biopharmaceutical company is working with Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, better known as BARDA, to develop a vaccine using a platform it currently uses to make a licensed influenza vaccine.
- A cutting-edge biotech company – with support from CEPI – is developing a new coronavirus vaccine. CEPI is also working with other industry leaders to accelerate the development of a vaccine against the virus.
- Numerous antiviral drugs, such as HIV drugs, are being repurposed and have entered clinical trials to test for efficacy and safety against COVID-19.
- Work previously done on medical countermeasures (MCMs) against other coronaviruses including SARS and MERS are being tested against COVID-19.
In the face of SARS, Zika, MERS and other deadly outbreaks, our industry has proven that it is ready to take on the world’s most complex challenges – but it will take smart science and innovative thinking from across the entire biopharmaceutical sector.