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Pharma companies asked to raid their cupboards for virus tools

Trade body exploring potential for collaborative private research into diagnostics and therapies

The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations has asked its drug company members to search their commercial assets for tools that could be used to combat the spread of the novel respiratory virus nCov-2019, which has been declared an international emergency.

Such tools could include diagnostic tests and approved therapies or compounds in development that could be repurposed for use against the coronavirus, EFPIA suggested on 4 February.

The body said it was also looking at whether companies could set up a collaborative research programme to develop drugs against the virus, using the EU’s Innovative Medicines Initiative, a public-private drug development programme.

In a 3 February situation report, the World Health Organization said there have now been more than 17,000 confirmed cases of infection in 24 countries and 362 deaths as a result—all but one of the latter having occurred in China, where the outbreak began in late 2019.