The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) announced
February 4 it will expand an existing collaboration with Regeneron
Pharmaceuticals Inc. to develop multiple monoclonal antibodies that,
individually or in combination, could be used to treat the emerging
HHS Secretary Alex Azar declared a nationwide public
health emergency January 31 for the coronavirus, which was first
identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China and began a rapid
"Emerging infectious diseases can present
serious threats to our nation's health security," said Rick Bright,
Ph.D., deputy assistant secretary for preparedness and response and
director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority
(BARDA) at ASPR. "Working as public-private partners like we have with
Regeneron since 2014, we can move rapidly to respond to new global
BARDA also announced
the opening of an Easy Broad Agency Announcement for development of
2019-nCoV diagnostics and is now accepting submissions for potential
The agency will review concise abstract submissions for
development funding of 2019-nCoV molecular diagnostics. The diagnostics
must utilize platforms already cleared by the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA), with a viable plan to meet requirements for the
FDA to consider Emergency Use Authorization within 12 weeks of an award,
according to the announcement.
On February 6, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said
that it has begun shipping CDC-developed laboratory test kit to detect
the virus to select qualified U.S. and international laboratories.
of these tests "will help improve the global capacity to detect and
respond to the 2019 novel coronavirus," CDC said.
Meanwhile, California's Department of Industrial Relations issued interim guidance on protecting health care workers from exposure.
and employees should review their own health and safety procedures as
well as the new recommendations, the agency said.