The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the industry’s ability to rapidly mobilize, and re-prioritize its clinical research and social-commitment.

In a recent analysis via the Access to Medicines Index, 17 of the 20 drug manufacturers within the scope of the Index are active in R&D for COVID-19 patients.

There are over 60 projects in the pipeline for COVID-19. Of these, five are antivirals, nine vaccines and 11 antibody-based treatments. The rest aim towards repurposing existing medicines for COVID-19 patients. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, no companies were conducting R&D on corona-virus diseases.

GSK has the most COVID-19 projects in the pipeline (16), including two monoclonal antibodies and one vaccine.

The Index also examined whether drug manufacturers share intellectual property assets with other researchers under terms designed to improve access to medicine. Eighteen companies reported sharing IP assets with third-party researchers for COVID-19 research. Some have completely waived global patent rights, while others have offered multi-national non-exclusive voluntary licensing agreements as well as establishing not-for-profit portfolios for the treatment of COVID-19.

The assessment provides a global perspective on how industry is responding to COVID-19 to ensure equitable access to products while supporting health systems in low- and middle-income countries.