EU: US confirms planned purchase of COVID-19 treatment

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Doherty is part of the British delegation to the United Nations Climate Change conference in Poland

The US government has confirmed that it plans to procure large quantities of the COVID-19 treatment as part of its spring flood-fighting programme.

COVID-19 was previously only available as a treatment to children with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and acute lymphoblastic leukemia relapse.

The announcement from the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) adds to concerns in Britain over the fate of the treatment.

The UK is due to contribute a lot of money to help British troops deal with the threat of a flu pandemic.

Health problems

Treatment uses liquid COVID (cyclic protease-activating protein) that is injected into the body to attack tumours.

In cases of the treatment being contaminated with bacteria, the disease often results in serious harm.

The British government was planning to purchase large quantities of the medicine this summer to treat soldiers if an outbreak of an avian flu virus emerged.

But, the government said, tests on British-made samples showed that the problem with COVID-19 remained the same as previously reported.

The same bacteria that caused the problem in US tests may in some cases also be present in UK samples, it added.

Nevertheless, the government reiterated its original plan to use some of the British stockpile of the medicine.

“We will continue to work with the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) to co-operate as they prepare for possible flu pandemics,” it said.

“The British government is still satisfied the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective.”

The head of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Mark Green, said: “Notwithstanding recent laboratory results confirming some additional limited bacterial contamination in the drug, a toxicology and pharmacological assessment carried out in late 2018 by a leading virologist indicates that the drug remains safe and effective.”

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Safety and Quality (ONCHP) has also stressed that COVID-19 is “safe and effective”.

But it said more tests must be carried out to clear other regulatory hurdles to ensure the drug is safe to use.

Mr Green said: “Neither the NIH nor CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) plans to discontinue COVID-19, and the plant does not have a legal expiration date.”

This follows concerns about one of its drug-making partners, Roche, which was accused of inventing a new drug to “flip a coin” on when it came to a patient’s response.

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Cerevamy dioxin was central to the 11th century disease plague

It is unclear whether the high winds that blew across the US at the weekend may have played a role in accelerating some of the new production issues.

The test used to detect contamination was originally designed for synthetic security at an airport. But developing it to detect alternative bacterial strains in clinical settings proved too difficult.

Even with the extra testing, it is still not clear whether the decision to eliminate Britain’s stockpiles of the drug has an impact on any US plans.

This is because the extra tests to check for bacterial contamination will be performed at the FDA’s laboratory in Atlanta, near the CDC facility.

The FDA acknowledged it had a smaller stockpile of COVID-19.

“Dr. Green is focused on assuring that we comply with all US regulatory requirements related to the drug. FDA has not taken any enforcement action against Roche/Echinacea,” it said.

Leave a Comment