The crowded race to develop a vaccine against the new coronavirus just received a potential billion-dollar boost. Vaccine development is a lengthy, expensive process. Attrition is high, and it typically takes multiple candidates and many years to produce a licensed vaccine. About 35 companies and academic institutions are racing to create such a vaccine.
Johnson & Johnson (J&J) announced on 30 March that it and the U.S. government, through a military research agency, would together devote up to that amount to move a candidate product made by its Janssen division across the finish line.
The first stage clinical trial for the vaccine was started in Wuhan on March 16 after Chinese authorities approved. It has been proceeding smoothly, and its results will be published in April, said Chen Wei, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. The first phase clinical trial for the vaccine, conducted in Wuhan, aims to evaluate the safety and tolerance for the vaccine in healthy adults between 18 and 60 years old. A total of 108 volunteers had completed inoculation as of Friday, and are under medical observation, the China Daily reported
The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has said that it will fast-track approval of all companies which have a drug or vaccine for coronavirus (Covid-19) treatment, an attempt to speed up research and development (R&D) that could offer treatment or cure for the disease which so far has none across the world.
The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in a statement on Sunday said that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine could be prescribed to teens and adults with COVID-19 "as appropriate, when a clinical trial is not available or feasible". The statement came after the FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) that marked the first EUA for a drug related to COVID-19 in the US, a media report said on Monday.
A drug used in Japan to treat influenza seems to be effective at treating the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, according to news reports. The antiviral drug, called Favipiravir or Avigan, showed positive outcomes in clinical trials involving 340 individuals in Wuhan and Shenzhen, said Zhang Xinmin, of China's science and technology ministry, The Guardian reported.
Source: livemint.com, weather.com, https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp2005630