Wuhan Institute asks for patent on Gilead's potential coronavirus drug

Wuhan Institute asks for patent on Gilead's potential coronavirus drug

"While there are no antiviral data for remdesivir that show activity against 2019-nCoV at this time, available data in other coronaviruses give us hope", Dr. Merdad Parsey, Chief Medical Officer at Gilead Sciences, said in a statement.

The medicine has earlier tested on infected mice and monkeys that suggested Remdesivir can fight coronaviruses. Scientists there have found Gilead's remdesivir, and chloroquine, an 80-year-old malaria drug, "highly effective" in laboratory studies at thwarting the novel coronavirus, they said Tuesday in a paper in the journal Cell Research.

Personnel from the health ministry participate in a drill to prepare for the potential arrival of passengers infected with the coronavirus at the Viru Viru International Airport, in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, Feb 6, 2020.

An antiviral drug, Remdesivir, that has been used to treat Ebola virus infections overseas, is officially in the clinical trial stage in Wuhan's Jinyintan Hospital as experts are testing its use in treating patients of the novel coronavirus. The coronavirus family includes the novel coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, blamed for the outbreak in Wuhan.

There's evidence from ongoing trials of remdesivir's promise to treat coronavirus-positive patients. Given that it looks like Gilead isproactively working to bring its drug to Chinese patients, some practitioners commenting on social media have anxious that the WIV application sends the wrong message.

Gilead had stockpiled the drug, as well as the materials used to make it, for use against Ebola. An application published by CNIPA in July 2018 is titled "The method for treating Arenaviridae and coronaviridae virus infection" and claims the application of remdesivir to inhibit coronaviruses like SARS and MERS. "We are doing this before knowing whether the drug is safe and effective to treat 2019-nCoV", the spokesperson said.

It will be tested by a medical team from the China-Japan Friendship Hospital in Beijing to see if it will treat coronavirus, Bloomberg news reported, citing a spokeswoman from the hospital.

A research institute in China's virus-hit Wuhan city has applied for a patent on the use of a drug made in the U.S. after it was found to be effective in treating patients infected with the coronavirus, raising questions whether the lab's move violated the intellectual property rights.

"Gilead has no influence over whether a patent office issues a patent to the Chinese researchers", said a company spokesman, Ryan McKeel.

In order to protect national interests, the institute said that it applied to patent the discovery that Remdesivir can be used to deal with 2019-nCov and would apply for patents in other countries and regions through the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

In its statement, the virology institute said it would not exercise its patent rights "if relevant foreign companies intend to contribute to the prevention and control of China's epidemic".

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