HHS launches public-private partnership to develop vaccines, therapies to treat coronavirus

HHS launches public-private partnership to develop vaccines, therapies to treat coronavirus

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The Department of Health and Human Services on Friday announced plans to launch a new public-private partnership to develop a national strategy to create vaccines and therapies to treat the novel coronavirus.

On Friday, the National Institutes of Health and the Foundation for NIH announced the Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) partnership.

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More than a dozen biopharmaceutical companies, HHS’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency will partner to develop a strategy for a coordinated research response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The ACTIVE partnership will bring new levels of coordination and speed to public and private work on therapies and vaccines for COVID-19—work that NIH, HHS, and the Trump administration began literally days after the coronavirus threat was identified in China in January,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement Friday.

“To save lives and bring life back to normal in the United States and around the world, we need COVID-19 vaccines and therapies on the market as soon as possible,” he continued, adding that the ACTIV partnership “will accelerate the amazing work being done every day by scientists and innovators inside and outside of government.”

He added that the National Institute of Health has “an extensive track record of coordinating these development efforts for new biological threats, and they are well-suited to lead this part of the whole-of-government, whole-of-America response President Trump has marshaled to defeat COVID-19.”

The announcement of the public-private partnership comes after President Trump unveiled a set of guidelines titled “Opening up America Again” and declared that the U.S. was moving on to its next stage in the fight against the coronavirus.

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Trump announced a bipartisan council of lawmakers dedicated to restarting the economy,

The Trump administration’s guidelines outline what individuals, businesses, health care workers and more should do over three phases in reopening the economy, with states only making it to the first phase if they see a decrease in the number of cases within their borders over 14 days.

The guidelines, which pass the decision on when to move to each phase to governors and local officials, are a reversal for Trump on comments made earlier this week that indicated he wanted to be the one deciding when the stay-at-home orders and business closures would lift.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said this week, though, that the crisis will not be over until there is a vaccine, which officials say could take 12 to 18 months to happen.

“That’s when it’s over,” he said.

Fox News’ Tyler Olson contributed to this report. 

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