The COVID-19 outbreak caused due to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), affecting millions of people globally. The outbreak of the pandemic COVID-19 has impelled the pharmaceutical industry into action, with a race to develop both therapeutic and preventive interventions. Exponentially increasing cases worldwide requiring short and long term respiratory support and multiple partnerships for the development of treatments with clinical trials underway are some of the major factors expected to drive the market over the forecast period.
The contagious coronavirus is having a potential economic impact and implications on most of the sectors including the pharmaceutical industry. Governments all over the world are now responding to the threat of COVID-19 with all the essential measures such as social distancing, nationwide lockdown, travel restrictions, and large-scale quarantines that are anticipated to negatively impact the businesses and consumer spending.
According to the WHO, SARS-CoV-2 has spread to over 150 countries with over 460,000 confirmed cases and over 20,000 deaths as of 27th March 2020. Based on treatment, the market is segmented into disease treatment drugs and preventive vaccines. Antiviral for disease treatment and symptom relief segment includes off label drugs and pipeline drugs. Geographically, the market has been divided into North America, Europe, Latin America (LATAM), Asia Pacific, and Middle East & Africa (MEA).
Currently, there are no drugs approved by the U.S. FDA or EU for the treatment of coronavirus disease. However, the only antiviral drug approved in China is Favilavir, developed by Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceutical. Favilavir was approved by the National Medical Products Administration of China on 18th February 2020. According to China’s Ministry of Science and Technology, favilavir is one of three drugs which demonstrated encouraging profile for blocking coronavirus in early clinical trials. The other two drugs are Gilead Sciences, remdesivir, and anti-malarial drug, chloroquine is also having promising results. 1M doses of Chloroquine from Bayer & 30M doses of hydroxycholroquine from Novartis received emergency use authorization for the treatment of Covid-19 by the U.S. FDA.
In addition, the China International Exchange and Promotive Association for Medical and Health Care (CPAM) also recommends the use of lopinavir; ritonavir in combination with nebulized alfa-interferon for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2.
Furthermore, market players are in the process of developing life-saving and life-enhancing medicines or vaccines for COVID-19. Several universities and key players such as Moderna, Inc.; DIOSynVax; Imperial College London, UK; Oxford University, UK; and Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. are focusing on developing vaccines for coronavirus. For instance, the U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH) has started the COVID-19 vaccine trial on 16 March 2020 in Seattle.
The fatalities are higher in people over 85 years of age. Although older people are at risk, the younger population is also affected by the disease. According to an article published in the World Economic Forum in March 2020, among the 500 people being hospitalized in the U.S., 20% were aged between 20 to 44 years and 18 % were aged between 45-54 years.
People with existing illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, hypertension, and diabetes are expected to experience a higher than average fatality rate. Moreover, according to the Chinese CDC, males are more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus than women. The male fatality rate is 2.8% and the female fatality rate is 1.7%.
Despite tremendous efforts, the first vaccine is expected to take at least a year to commercialize. Market players are also focusing on the development of both antiviral drugs and vaccines independently or through collaborations. For instance, Gilead Sciences is evaluating a drug, remdesivir, a nucleoside analog currently in phase 3 clinical trial in the Asia Pacific and the U.S. for the treatment of COVID-19.
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Multiple therapeutic regimens are being followed across the globe in attempts to come up with a reliable treatment for Covid-19. One line of treatment includes the use of hydroxychloroquine, while a second treatment line focuses to use antiviral drugs used in the disease management of HIV. Both these approaches have surged demand from advanced antivirals and antimalarial drugs. This impacts the drug manufacturers as an off label indication for these drug classes has to be worked upon. At the moment, the WHO has not prescribed any of these approaches, neither they have commented if one is better than the other. The report will account for Covid19 as a key market contributor.