Trump administration contracts biotech firm to make COVID-19 on US soil

Shutterstock

The announcement comes as US officials as of Wednesday morning had reported 1,536,400 cases of Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus-up from 1,515,300 cases as of Tuesday morning.

The number of coronavirus cases in the USA exceeded 1.5 million yesterday, as total deaths 90,000, according to a Reuters tally of state and county figures. This move of the administration will not only lessen its dependence on foreign countries but support its drug supply chain as well. As of Wednesday, all 50 states have started to scale back restrictions meant to curb America's Covid-19 epidemic.

"We believe this work can revolutionize America's generic drug manufacturing model by enabling Phlow to produce affordable ingredients used to manufacture essential medicines in the U.S.", Phlow co-founder Frank Gupton said.

It said it has already delivered over 1.6 million doses of five essential generic medicines to treat COVID-19 patients to the U.S. Strategic National Stockpile. The total contract value awarded to Phlow is up to $812 million which includes a four-year base award of $354 million with an additional $458 million included as potential options for long-term sustainability.

The goal is to alleviate or prevent drug shortages, especially during the COVID-19 health crisis and in future pandemics, officials said, noting that the majority of APIs or their precursor chemicals are now manufactured outside the United States.

Numerous active ingredients in medicines and the starting materials needed to make them are produced overseas, and the coronavirus pandemic had heightened fears that the U.S.is overly reliant on drug imports that could be disrupted in an emergency, particularly from China and India. Phlow Corp is a generic drug maker based in Virginia which makes medicines overseas, mostly in India and China, according to the NYT.

Phlow has partnered with other groups, including Civica Rx, Ampac Fine Chemicals and the Medicines for All Institute to manufacture the medicines.


Azar added that HHS is taking a "significant step to rebuild our domestic ability to protect ourselves from health threats by utilizing American-made ingredients and creating new American jobs in the process".

A Richmond drug manufacturer is the federal government's choice to make the drugs to treat or cure COVID-19 as those substances are developed.

"Shipping the ingredients or finished drugs to the USA also adds time that is not available during pandemics or other public health emergencies", HHS said.

After COVID-19 hit, Edwards said Phlow focused on drugs for the virus and reached out to Navarro's office and government agencies.

For example, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) recently asked CMS to make certain Medicare telehealth regulations issued during the crisis permanent.

"BARDA is committed to working with partners from the private sector and across the US government to improve our nation's health security", said Gary Disbrow, PhD, BARDA acting director, in a statement.

Related:

Comments

Latest news

Trump says he is taking hydroxychloroquine
Sebastian Gorka, who served in the White House in 2017, also revealed he has been taking the drug for more than a month. Mike Kelly and his wife Victoria upon arrival at Erie International Airport in Erie, Pennsylvania on October 10, 2018.

Gigi Hadid denies having cosmetic fillers after face ‘changes’ during pregnancy
I feel like I'm too much of a control freak that I'm like, what if it goes wrong? She continued, "I accept myself for how it is. Moreover, during her appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon , Gigi confirmed the good news herself.

Iran extends Zaghari-Ratcliffe's temporary release, lawyer says
The furlough has been extended until May 27, her lawyer told the IRNA news agency on May 20. Click the link in the yellow box below for details.

Coronavirus: Golf, tennis set to resume in Scotland
Phase one , which will see limited easing of existing restrictions, is expected to begin on Thursday next week. Pubs and restaurants can reopen their outdoor spaces, and playgrounds and sports courts will also be opened.

Woman injured in Yellowstone after approaching bison
A visitor was injured in a bison attack Wednesday at Yellowstone National Park , which this week began a phased reopening. This is the first incident of a bison injuring a Yellowstone visitor in 2020.

Other news