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Global pharmaceutical industry making efforts on the fight against Coronavirus

January 31, 2020 By En-CPhI.CN

On Jan.31st in China, WHO held an emergency committee meeting on the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus (2019-nCov) and announced the epidemic was listed as the "public health emergency of international concern" (PHEIC), the highest level in the World Health Organization's emergency response mechanism for infectious diseases.

As the Coronavirus outbreak continues to grow in China and around the world, it has caused accumulated over 200 deaths in China and nearly 10 thousand contracted cases in the world as of press time. However, there is no new specific drug for the treatment of new coronavirus pneumonia, and the application of drugs for the treatment of confirmed patients has been widely concerned.

Global pharmaceuitical industry making efforts on the fight against Coronavirus

Existing HIV and Ebola drugs claimed to be the potential treatment of new coronavirus pneumonia

It was reported that a noted respiratory expert at Peking University First Hospital in Beijing said he was given the HIV drugs to fight the virus after he contracted it following a visit to Wuhan, a city in China believed to be the origin of the virus. 

Also, "Science" magazine published a report entitled "Can an anti-HIV combination or other existing drugs outwit the new coronavirus?" and proposed that the combination of remdesivir and monoclonal antibodies is likely to be the ideal therapy for 2019-nCov.

The Chinese National Health Commission has included the treatment of HIV drug Lopinavir / ritonavir (LPV / R, trade name: Kaletra or Aluvia) into the "Treatment Program of New Pneumonia Infected by Coronavirus (trial version)", in the hope of helping fight against the virus.

AbbVie said it was donating more than one million dollars’ worth of Aluvia as an ad-hoc treatment for pneumonia that is associated with the outbreak, according to

Similarly, on Jan.23rd, Gilead announced that it was looking at whether its Ebola virus drug remdesivir, an antiviral, as a potential coronavirus treatment. The director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Anthony Fauci, also said that his department has been working with Gilead closely to test whether its Ebola candidate, an antiviral drug known as remdesivir, is effective in treating coronavirus, according to The Motely Fool's report. 

China, US to work together on the R&D of Coronavirus treatment with support from international organization

On Jan.28th in China, Innovio pharmaceuticals signed a memorandum of cooperation with Advaccines Biopharmaceuticals, a Suzhou innovative drug R&D company. They jointly announced the adoption of the latest DNA vaccine rapid response technology to develop a vaccine to fight against 2019 n-Cov.

US based Inovio Pharmaceuticals is awarded by Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) a grant of up to $9 million to develop a vaccine against coronavirus (2019-nCoV). This initial CEPI funding will support Inovio's preclinical and clinical development through Phase 1 human testing of INO-4800, its new coronavirus vaccine matched to the outbreak strain. Inovio's collaborators in this coronavirus vaccine development include the Wistar Institute, VGXI, a fully owned subsidiary of GeneOne Life Science, and Twist Bioscience. 

CEPI previously awarded Inovio a grant of up to $56 million for the development of vaccines against Lassa fever and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), also caused by a coronavirus, as Biospectrumasia reported.  CEPI is a global alliance launched in Davos in 2017 financing and coordinating the development of vaccines against infectious diseases.

Moderna also received a grant from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations to investigate the treatment of the virus.

Biopharmaceutical Company and university in Shanghai to promote rapid development of new coronavirus mRNA vaccine

In Shanghai, the translational medicine platform of Dongfang Hospital Affiliated to Tongji University cooperates with Siwei (Shanghai) Biotechnology Co., Ltd. to rapidly promote the research and development of new coronavirus mRNA vaccine based on the achievements of mRNA synthesis platform, a sub task of "stem cell strategic library and clinical translational platform of stem cell technology in Zhangjiang national innovation demonstration area, Shanghai". Recently, the project has been urgently completed for filing.

The efficacy of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) affirmed in Beijing

On January 25 in China, Beijing Union Medical College Hospital released the "New Coronavirus Infected Pneumonia" diagnosis and treatment proposal (V2.0) of Beijing Union Medical College Hospital, aiming to standardize the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, the plan affirmed the efficacy of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), and provided the treatment dose and treatment schedule: according to the condition of severe patients, early use of IVIG 0.25g/kg/d is appropriate, and the treatment course is 3-5 days.

About Coronavirus

(Reference: Wikipedia)

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that cause diseases in mammals and birds. In humans, the viruses cause respiratory infections which are typically mild including the common cold but rarer forms like SARS and MERS can be lethal.

Coronaviruses are enveloped viruses with a positive-sense single-stranded RNA genome and with a nucleocapsid of helical symmetry. 

The name "Coronavirus" is derived from the Latin corona, meaning crown or halo, which refers to the characteristic appearance of the virus particles (virions): they have a fringe reminiscent of a royal crown or of the solar corona.

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