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AHF2020

Patents Must Not Block Coronavirus Treatment

2020-02-21 15:23
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LOS ANGELES--()--As the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues to rage in China and has spread to 29 other countries or territories, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) urges all responsible parties to ensure that no access-limiting patents are issued for any possible treatments for the deadly virus.

A potential patent dispute in China over Gilead Sciences’ promising experimental drug remdesivir has raised concerns after Chinese pharmaceutical company BrightGene copied the drug without a license and also filed for a patent. Gilead has been waiting for patent approval for remdesivir in China since 2016.

“The last thing this outbreak response needs is a battle over patents for a drug that, at least in these early stages, appears to have some success against this coronavirus,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “Researchers all over the world are scrambling to find a cure – that should remain the focus – not strategizing for more profits using patents that could potentially limit access to an effective treatment.”

There are currently more than 75,000 reported cases of COVID-19 and 2,009 people have died – including Dr. Liu Zhiming, the head of the Wuchang hospital in Wuhan, the city where the virus originated.

“It’s bizarre that we’re even discussing patents in the middle of an international health emergency,” added Dr. Jorge Saavedra, Executive Director of the AHF Global Public Health Institute at the University Of Miami. ”Big pharma can fight it out after we’re positive this virus has been stamped out—now is not the time.”

A current trial being conducted for remdesivir is one among more than 80 currently running or pending clinical trials in China attempting to combat COVID-19.

For more information, please contact Ged Kenslea at gedk@aidshealth.org or (323) 791-5526.

About AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF)

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 1.3 million people in 43 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare and Instagram: @aidshealthcare.

Contacts

U.S. MEDIA CONTACTS:
Ged Kenslea, Senior Director, Communications, AHF
+1 323 308 1833 work +1.323.791.5526 mobile
gedk@aidshealth.org

Denys Nazarov, Director of Global Policy &
Communications, AHF
+1.202.503.4743
dn@aidshealth.org