Rush for drugs de­vel­op­ment

Down to Earth - - Cover Story / Coronaviru­s -

There are over 300 clin­i­cal tri­als un­der­way to find a cure for COVID-19. One such drug is remde­sivir, de­vel­oped and patented 10 years back by Gilead Sci­ences. It is be­ing tested against a va­ri­ety of pathogens in­clud­ing the Ebola virus. A re­cent study showed that this drug was use­ful against MERS coronaviru­s, sug­gest­ing that it could work on COVID-19 too. Generic ver­sions of this drug have been de­vel­oped by BrightGene Bio-Med­i­cal Tech­nol­ogy in China. Mean­while, re­searchers at Moderna, a Mas­sachusetts-based biotech, have de­vel­oped an mRNA vac­cine which is set to be tested on 45 healthy peo­ple at Kaiser Per­ma­nente Wash­ing­ton Health Re­search In­sti­tute. The fu­ture of th­ese drugs and vac­cines de­pend on how the disease pans out. In case peo­ple de­velop im­mu­nity against the pathogen nat­u­rally, the vac­cine might not get a mar­ket. A per­ti­nent ques­tion haunts: whether th­ese drugs and vac­cine, if found ef­fec­tive, would be ac­ces­si­ble to the poor?

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