Coronavirus treatment is leading to multiple clinical trials that can result in patent protection of promising drugs.
Chinese officials believe that the coronavirus may have originated from a market in a city where people can buy an assortment of wild game meat. WHO has declared the outbreak as an international public health emergency. Corona viruses are a group of viruses that cause diseases in mammals and birds. In humans, they can also cause respiratory infections, which are generally mild in nature. However, certain rare forms of corona viruses are lethal, including SARS and MERS. The new strain of coronavirus that has emerged since December 2019 is known as 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19.
The death toll and number of coronavirus cases are increasing with every passing day. As per latest reports, there have been confirmed cases across 23 countries worldwide. It is strongly suspected that the source of origin of coronavirus is an animal market in Wuhan district of China, which is now closed. The World Health Organisation, or the WHO got to know on December 31, 2019, through Chinese government about mysterious pneumonia infections in the city.
Subsequently, scientists in China isolated the novel coronavirus as the cause of such infections. Thereafter, on January 20, 2020, it was confirmed that the novel coronavirus can be transmitted between humans. Through further research, scientists discovered that the novel coronavirus contains gene sequences similar to viruses found in native Chinese snakes.
However, earlier research indicated that the coronavirus gene sequence was similar to that of bats. Therefore, further research is needed to confirm the exact source. A preliminary review of coronavirus infections reveals that more than 16 cities are presently under quarantine affecting millions of people.
In the town of Wuhan, China is building two hospitals to treat coronavirus patients. First such hospital was completed within a record time of 10 days on February 3, 2020. Both these hospitals are needed due to the insufficiency of existing medical resources. At the same time, China is in urgent need of medical masks, protective suits and safety goggles to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Regarding treatment of coronavirus, multiple biotech firms have announced that they may have vaccines to the deadly coronavirus. Novavax has revealed that it would try to make a coronavirus vaccine. Inovio Pharmaceuticals has announced a $9 million grant from the coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) for a potential vaccine. Vir Biotechnology, based in San Francisco said that it would test whether any of the monoclonal antibodies it already has, which could also work for the 2019-nCoV. Moderna Therapeutics has revealed a collaboration with the National Institutes of Health and funding from CEPI for a potential coronavirus vaccine.
To help with containing the coronavirus spread, AI or artificial intelligence based technology tools have been explored. For example, robotic cleaners have been used to disinfect the wards and AI voice assistants are advising people on home quarantine procedures. At the time of publishing this article, the virus has continuously been studied and more information is expected to be available soon to unveil this mystery.
In case of treatment of a disease caused by virus, companies file for patents claiming promising candidates covering chemistry patents, chemical patents, biotech patents, and drug patents. In China, a pharmaceutical company BrightGene has successfuly copied Gilead’s remdesivir, the most promising drug against the new coronavirus. However, this is still under testing and final marketing approval may require permission from the patent holder.
To understand scope of patents in the field of biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, companies conduct patent landscape studies. In use, patent landscape report includes collection of patents in a particular technology sector. The essence of patent landscape analysis depends upon the specific business goals. Patent attorneys use landscape report as a competitive intelligence tool to assist clients in evaluating smart business decisions.