The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced
that it is expanding an existing collaboration with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals in order to pursue a treatment for the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
The expanded collaboration was announced on February 4, 2020.
The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) at HHS will work with Regeneron in order to develop several monoclonal antibodies which, individually or in combination, can be tested for efficacy against 2019-nCoV.
The potential 2019-nCoV treatments will be developed with the aid of Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody technology known as Velocimmune. Velocimmune creates fully human antibodies from immunized mice, and was used to develop an investigational 2-antibody therapeutic to treat Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus in the past.
Velocimmune was also used to develop a 3-antibody therapeutic which showed promising results in a clinical trial
treating Ebola in the ongoing
Democratic Republic of the Congo outbreak.
There are not currently any US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved vaccines or medications for 2019-nCoV.
“In addition to expanded collaboration with Regeneron, BARDA is working with counterparts across the government, including within HHS and with the Department of Defense. The team is reviewing potential vaccines, treatments and diagnostics from across the public and private sectors…to identify promising candidates for development to detect, protect against or treat 2019 nCoV,” HHS officals wrote.
On January 31, HHS Secretary Alex Azar signed a public health emergency declaration
in response to 2019-nCoV.
A few days later, on February 4, FDA issued
an emergency authorization allowing the expanded use of a 2019-nCoV diagnostic panel which was previously only authorized for use in US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention laboratories.
® will continue to provide updates as the search for 2019-nCoV treatment and prevention options continues. For the most recent cases in the novel coronavirus outbreak, visit the Contagion® Outbreak Monitor.
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