Editor's note: This tracker of BioPharma Dive's coverage of the drug industry's response to the coronavirus pandemic is no longer being updated. For information on coronavirus vaccine developments, check out this overview. Otherwise, head to our homepage for the latest news on COVID-19.
The new coronavirus moved around the world with lightning speed. Since December, when it was first identified in Wuhan, China, nearly every country has reported cases of infection. More than 11.5 million cases have been confirmed through July 6, though the true number is surely higher, and over 535,000 people have died. The virus known as SARS-CoV-2 has overwhelmed healthcare systems in the hardest-hit regions, and threatens to do the same elsewhere as the infection total continues to grow.
Dozens of drugmakers have started work on vaccines to protect against the virus or medicines to treat COVID-19, the illness it causes. Hundreds of studies are underway in search of an effective treatment, testing mostly repurposed HIV or influenza drugs. One, a U.S. government-led trial of an antiviral drug called remdesivir, showed some hopeful signs of hastening recovery in patients hospitalized with COVID-19.
More recently, a U.K. study showed dexamethasone, a cheap and inexpensive steroid, reduced the risk of dying for the most severely sick patients.
Yet it will likely still be months before a vaccine or treatment designed specifically for SARS-CoV-2 becomes available, and the evidence supporting any that become available quickly will likely be comparatively sparse. Current treatment generally consists of supportive care.
For the biopharma industry, the virus has disrupted business on a broad scale. Many companies source chemicals or pharmaceutical ingredients from factories across the globe, creating supply chain challenges, while stay-at-home orders have grounded company sales teams. The epidemic's impact on clinical trials was significant, causing numerous delays to enrollment or postponements to studies of treatments for other diseases.
Below, BioPharma Dive compiled a roundup of our coronavirus coverage so far. There are still many unanswered questions, and the drug industry's response is in its opening stages. We will update the roundup each day.