More than 140 substances are being probed as pharmaceutical companies are racing to come up with medications to treat the coronavirus disease COVID-19, an industry umbrella group reported on Thursday.
Thomas Cueni, who heads the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) in Geneva, said among the potential treatments, 77 are drugs that were developed for other diseases, while 68 are being newly developed, said.
“We have a rich pipeline,” he told an online news briefing, adding that 25 companies had launched clinical trials.
Executives from major pharmaceutical companies stressed at the briefing that firms are collaborating and sharing data to speed up research and development.
“The industry, which is traditionally fiercely competitive, has come together,” Cueni said.
Companies are working on various approaches to fight the novel coronavirus, which has killed more than 200,000 people since it started spreading from China late 2019.
While Pfizer is seeking a way to stop the virus from multiplying, CSL Behring and Takeda have joined forces to develop an immune therapy by combining antibodies from many recovered patients.
Others are banking on existing medicines.
AstraZeneca is working on trials of a blood cancer medication that is being tested to prevent lung failure in COVID-19 patients.
Sandoz is collecting data on its malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as it is being tested as a potential coronavirus treatment.
IFPMA pledged that the industry would work with governments to mass-produce treatments at affordable prices.