US NIH to launch international alliance for Covid-19 drugs and vaccine

20 April 2020 (Last Updated April 20th, 2020 10:32)

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) is set to launch a public-private partnership, which will bring together health agencies and pharmaceutical companies to accelerate Covid-19 drugs and vaccine.

US NIH to launch international alliance for Covid-19 drugs and vaccine
NIH teams up with health agencies and pharmceutical companies for Covid-19 drugs and vaccine. Credit: National Cancer Institute.

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) is set to launch a public-private partnership, which will bring together health agencies and pharmaceutical companies to accelerate Covid-19 drugs and vaccines.

The Accelerating Covid-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) partnership aims to create a collaborative framework to prioritise vaccine and drug candidates.

Furthermore, the partners will help manage clinical trials and regulatory processes.  Partner assets will be leveraged for rapid response to the ongoing Covid-19 and future pandemics.

Aside from NIH, health agencies participating in ACTIV include the US Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and European Medicines Agency.

Not-for-profit organisation Foundation for the National Institutes of Health will also be part of the alliance.

These organisations will work with 16 pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Takeda, Vir Biotechnology and GlaxoSmithKline, among others.

ACTIV members will offer infrastructure, subject matter expertise and funding to discover, prioritise and enable the advancement of certain promising candidates into clinical trials.

Furthermore, companies will provide select prioritised compounds, of which some have already passed different development phases, along with data support for Covid-19 research.

Currently, researchers are working to analyse more than 100 potential preventives and therapeutics against Covid-19, noted NIH.

ACTIV intends to provide guidance for prioritising development candidates, as well as link clinical trial networks for quick evaluation of new and repurposed candidates.

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said: “Using the most advanced clinical trial methods to rapidly test multiple interventions will help get the answers we need as soon as possible to expedite potential prevention and treatment approaches to fight Covid-19.

“Collaboration is a critical ingredient for success and the FDA will continue to use every tool possible under our Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program to speed the development of safe and effective medical countermeasures.”

Primarily, the partnership will focus on standardising and sharing preclinical assessment approaches in an open forum and accelerating clinical study of drug candidates with near-term potential.

The partners will also maximise clinical trial capacity and effectiveness, as well as advance vaccine development.