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FDA aims to accelerate COVID-19 therapies with new programme

Published on 01/04/20 at 11:27am

The FDA has launched the Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program (CTAP) to quickly bring therapies and treatments to people suffering from COVID-19.

US Department of Health & Human Services secretary Alex Azar, commented on the program, and said: “The FDA is announcing a new, comprehensive public-private approach to bring coronavirus treatments to market as fast as possible. As part of this new programme, the FDA is cutting red tape, redeploying staff and working day and night to review requests from companies, scientists and doctors who are working toward therapies.”

Multiple companies like Sanofi, Gilead, GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson are working on treatments and vaccines. The FDA will use its program to provide guidance and assistance to these types of companies. It is also working with federal partners and researchers to develop protocols to be followed across trials and programmes that deal with COVID-19.

The FDA is also collaborating with these companies to share and analyse real world data to assess illness trends and treatment outcomes.

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn also spoke about the new program, saying: “Quickly after the emergence of this virus, we began working directly with federal health partners, academia and industry to advance medical countermeasures against Covid-19. Our staff continues to work across all sectors to expedite the development of numerous, innovative potential prevention and treatment approaches. We are also looking at pragmatic and expedited ways to make these products available to patients, while still ensuring the FDA’s standards are met.”

Two therapies that are being looked into intensely by the FDA and its corporate partners are the Ebola drug remdesivir and the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine sulphate. There has been some controversy around President Trump promoting the malaria drug in particular, with critics accusing him of misinformation after an Arizona couple ingested chloroquine phosphate, used for Koi food. The husband died due to ingesting this substance.

Conor Kavanagh

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