The World Health Organization is working with scientists across the globe on at least 20 different coronavirus vaccines with some already in clinical trials in record time — just 60 days after sequencing the gene, according to reports from CNBC. “The acceleration of this process is really truly dramatic in terms of what we’re able to do, building on work that started with SARS, that started with MERS and now is being used for COVID-19,” Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the technical lead for WHO’s emergencies program, said at a press conference at the organization’s headquarters in Geneva, recently.
Reuters reports that U.S. researchers, following the lead of scientists in other countries, have launched studies to see whether widely-available, low-cost generic drugs can be used to help treat the illness caused by the new coronavirus. There are currently no vaccines or treatments for the highly-contagious COVID-19 respiratory illness, so patients can only receive supportive care for now. But a 1,500-person trial, led by the University of Minnesota, began this week to see whether malaria treatment hydroxychloroquine can prevent or reduce the severity of COVID-19. Two other trials are studying the blood pressure drug losartan as a possible treatment for the disease.
Most people infected with the new coronavirus develop only mild flu-like symptoms, but around 20 percent can have more severe disease that can lead to pneumonia requiring hospitalization. A French team recently said initial results from a 24-patient trial of hydroxychloroquine showed that 25% of patients given the drug still carried the coronavirus after six days, compared with 90% of patients given a placebo. A Reuters report concluded: “Pharmaceutical companies are also working to develop treatments for COVID-19, including Gilead Sciences Inc’s experimental antiviral drug remdesivir, which is given to hospitalized patients via intravenous infusion over several days.
BioSig Technologies, a medical technology company commercializing a proprietary biomedical signal processing platform, announced that its majority-owned subsidiary NeuroClear Technologies, Inc. acquired the rights to develop a novel pharmaceutical to treat Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
In a preliminary internal review, the orally administered, broad-spectrum anti-viral agent Vicromax(tm) demonstrated strong activity against COVID-19 in cell cultures in laboratory testing. In this analysis, Vicromax(tm) was added to a tissue culture assay for SARS-CO-2 coronavirus (the causative agent for COVID-19) and an anti-viral effect was observed, which led to a reduction of over 90% of infectious viruses. The Company intends to pursue development of this agent for the treatment of COVID-19 through FDA-approved clinical trials.
The product candidate already completed Phase I and three Phase II trials in other indications, and underwent extensive animal testing and human clinical experience. The Company expects that Vicromax(tm) could be used alone or in a combination with other anti-viral agents or immune modulators.
“Stopping the COVID-19 pandemic and preventing similar viral threats in the future must be the number-one priority of all of us in the healthcare community,” said Kenneth L. Londoner, Chairman and CEO of BioSig Technologies, Inc. “This very promising anti-viral is the result of tireless efforts by an accomplished group of pharmaceutical industry veterans, and we are doing everything in our power to ensure it gets tested and brought to market as soon as possible.” The Company intends to develop Vicromax(tm) and take it through clinical trials under a new NeuroClear subsidiary, ViralClear Pharmaceuticals, Inc.