Sector News

Trump talks antiviral progress amid COVID-19 pandemic

March 19, 2020
Life sciences

In a much-anticipated press conference Thursday, President Donald Trump said the U.S. has stepped up near-term efforts to advance and make available antivirals to help patients with COVID-19 illnesses.

But despite the urgency and the progress, FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn said it’s important to learn more about all potential treatments.

Amid the pandemic, one drug that’s gained attention in various countries is chloroquine, a decades-old malaria med that’s available for cheap. President Trump said the U.S. is going to make the drug available by prescription “almost immediately.”

Chloroquine is already approved to treat malaria, and Hahn said investigators are planning a “large, pragmatic clinical trial” to learn more. But, the commissioner cautioned, it’s always important to get the “right drug” to the “right patient” at the “right dosage” at the “right time.” The wrong dose could actually hurt a patient’s condition, he added.

While chloroquine isn’t approved for patients with novel coronavirus infections, Trump may have been referencing an off-label use for the medicine. It wasn’t immediately clear how the drug would become available imminently.

Aside from chloroquine, the president and FDA commissioner Hahn talked about efforts to test Gilead’s remdesivir, originally developed for Ebola. Trump said that drug is “very close to approved,” but Hahn declined to specify potential approval timelines.

Coronavirus tracker: Merck CEO calls on Americans to limit contact; FDA halts domestic inspections

Other efforts are underway for plasma-based therapies and repurposing existing medicines, Hahn said at the press conference.

Meanwhile, investigators have launched a vaccine trial “in record time,” the president said. It’ll be 12 months before the study completes and the FDA could potentially approve the shot, Hahn said.

Until then, the antivirals and other drugs are intended to be a “bridge” for treatment until the medical community has a deployable vaccine, Hahn added.

By Eric Sagonowsky

Source: Fierce Pharma

comments closed

Related News

May 26, 2024

From pharma to food: Vitafoods 2024 highlights

Life sciences

Beyond the vibrant displays and insightful discussions at Vitafoods 2024 stood the backdrop of a rapidly expanding nutraceutical market. With consumers increasingly seeking preventive healthcare solutions and natural alternatives to traditional medicine, the global nutraceutical industry has witnessed remarkable growth in recent years.

May 26, 2024

Genmab completes acquisition of ProfoundBio

Life sciences

Genmab has completed its $1.8 billion acquisition of ProfoundBio, a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing next-generation antibody-drug conjugates (ADC)s and ADC technologies for the treatment of cancers.

May 26, 2024

Merck to acquire life science company Mirus Bio

Life sciences

Merck has agreed to acquire US life sciences company Mirus Bio for $600 million (around €550 million) from Gamma Biosciences, a life sciences platform established by global investment firm KKR. Based in Madison, Wisconsin, Mirus Bio is a specialist in the development and commercialization of transfection reagents.

How can we help you?

We're easy to reach