The Latest: Southeast Asian Patients Benefit From COVID-19 Innovation
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, biopharmaceutical companies have found innovative ways to combat the global health crisis through unprecedented collaboration and partnerships, strengthened intellectual property rights and advanced research and development (R&D) processes. Innovators responded quickly by leveraging decades of existing research and scientific knowledge and building a robust innovation ecosystem that have since lead to several approved COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. As distribution continues to ramp up, patients throughout Southeast Asia are feeling the benefits of this biopharmaceutical investment and innovation.
Here is a closer look at some of the impact these innovations have had on people throughout Southeast Asia:
- Pfizer’s partnership with BioNTech resulted in a COVID-19 vaccine that utilizes mRNA technology and has an efficacy rate of 95% after two doses. The vaccine has been approved for use by regulatory authorities in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. As of mid-May 2021, more than 8 million Singaporeans have been inoculated with at least the first dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. In May 2021, BioNTech announced it will set up its Southeast Asia headquarters in Singapore, and will build a manufacturing facility in the city-state to produce “several hundreds of millions” of mRNA-based vaccine doses a year.
- The AstraZeneca and Oxford University collaboration developed a non-replicating viral vector COVID-19 vaccine that yielded a 70% efficacy rate after two doses. Regulatory authorities in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines have endorsed the vaccine for emergency use and signed several agreements with the company to acquire millions of doses in 2021.
- Scientists at Gilead leveraged pre-existing research to further develop remdesivir as a treatment indicated for use in severely ill COVID-19 patients. Health authorities in Singapore have conditionally approved remdesivir, which minimizes COVID-19 symptoms by interrupting the production of the virus and preventing the virus from multiplying.
These innovative collaborations and discoveries have already made a positive impact on the health of those in Southeast Asia. Policymakers in the region must continue to strengthen intellectual property rights so biopharmaceutical companies can continue to innovate and support broad patient access.