Rush for drugs development
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?