Feb 6, 2020 - World

Coronavirus researchers to meet in Geneva to address outbreak

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The World Health Organization says it will host a “major meeting” with researchers and health agencies from around the world on Tuesday to address the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The goal: To set priorities and fast-track the development and evaluation of diagnostics, vaccines and treatments, plus ensure accessibility for vulnerable populations, the WHO said.

Why it matters: Thousands of people have been infected, and the death toll is rising. There is no proven treatment or vaccine.

  • Drugmakers are already ramping up research. Gilead is testing one drug in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. China applied for a patent on the use of the drug.
  • What the WHO decides won’t stop individual countries or companies from going in their own directions, especially if they’ve started already, per Axios' Eileen Drage O'Reilly. But its recommendations will likely receive the lion's share of global funding.

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NIH has no big drug manufacturer on board to make its coronavirus vaccine

Anthony Fauci speaks at a Feb. 7 press conference on coronavirus developments. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

A leading U.S. health official said Tuesday it's "very frustrating" that no major drug firm has yet offered to make a vaccine against the novel coronavirus that the National Institutes of Health is helping develop, STAT News reports.

Why it matters: When outbreaks of new worrisome pathogens start, governments may immediately start working on diagnostics, vaccines and treatments, but they also need a buy-in from drug companies that sometimes get burned if the outbreak suddenly peters out or the drug isn't successful.

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Coronavirus global death toll surpasses SARS

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The novel coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, has now killed more people than the 2003 SARS outbreak, the latest health figures show.

What's happening: Health authorities in China's Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, reported 81 new deaths from the virus on Saturday — taking the toll in the region to 780. China's National Health Commission confirmed later Saturday that a total of 811 people have died of coronavirus in the country.

Go deeperArrowFeb 9, 2020 - Health

Drugmakers warn of medication shortages from coronavirus

Tourists with face masks walk through Union Square in New York City on Feb. 28. Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images

Some of the largest drugmakers — including AstraZeneca, Merck and Pfizer — have said that the coronavirus outbreak could affect their supplies or sales, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Between the lines: Drug shortages can end up being incredibly serious for patients, but they're not good for business either.

Go deeperArrowMar 2, 2020 - Health