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The World Health Organization raised its risk assessment of the coronavirus to the highest level of concern in terms of spread and impact, as the novel virus has now reached 49 countries at minimum.
Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette said on Saturday that the Trump administration is testing existing “off-the-shelf” drugs to combat the coronavirus.
The FDA said late Thursday that it has identified the first known drug shortage caused by the coronavirus outbreak in China. FDA did not identify the medicine, but it updates its drug shortage list daily. New additions over the past few days included antibacterial infusion Avycaz and Mylan-made beta-blocker Pindolol, for which stock is low because of shortage of an active ingredient.
FDA also shed light on possible challenges for device supplies . It announced that is knows of 63 manufacturers that utilize 72 factories in China to make "essential" medical devices — including many with worker shortages due to the coronavirus. No such devices are reported to be in short supply, but device makers aren't legally required to disclose if circumstances exist that could lead to shortages.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the agency fixed an issue with the coronavirus test kits it is sending to state health labs, allowing for faster screening and diagnosis of the virus.
Vice President Pence tapped Ambassador Debbie Birx to serve as the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator.
Vice President Pence and HHS Secretary Azar announced the addition of Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, Surgeon General Adams, and National Economic Council Director Kudlow to the Coronavirus Task Force.
The Trump administration is considering invoking special powers through a law called the Defense Production Act to rapidly expand domestic manufacturing of protective masks and clothing to combat the coronavirus.
FDA has decided to let public health labs (PHL) across the United States jointly develop a laboratory developed test (LDT) using a standard protocol as a way to speed diagnostic testing for COVID-19, according to a letter FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn sent to the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL).
The National Institutes of Health said Gilead Sciences Inc.'s antiviral drug for the coronavirus is undergoing testing at the University of Nebraska. Meanwhile, Moderna Inc. sent a shipment of a potential coronavirus vaccine to the National Institutes of Health, becoming the first drugmaker to do so, just 42 days after sequencing the virus' genome.
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