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Pharmaceutical Market Europe - January 2021

Pharmaceutical Market Europe - January 2021

The battle against COVID-19 continues

2021 definitely did not start the way we had hoped, with the emergence of a new, more transmissible variant of the coronavirus that caused Christmas plans to be severely curtailed and resulted in another countrywide lockdown.

However, in the midst of all the uncertainty, there was a cause for celebration when, on 4 January, a UK patient became the first person in the world to receive AstraZeneca and Oxford University’s COVID-19 vaccine, less than a week after the vaccine was approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

Along with the race to find a vaccine, there is an equally important search for drugs that can be used to treat those suffering from COVID-19. On page 22, PME talks to Gilead Sciences’ Julian Cole about the company’s efforts to find an effective drug treatment for patients with COVID-19 and the journey of remdesivir that began a decade ago as part of Gilead’s emerging viruses programme.

Also in this month’s issue, we have a focus on the importance of pandemic preparedness. On page 24, Jake Reder talks about why we need to replace our focus of ‘just in time’ with a focus on ‘just in case’ and on page 26, David Veredas talks about the need for an Emergency Health Financing Facility that could be used to limit the impact of future crises on the EU.

While the pandemic rages on, other diseases are getting lost in the chaos, yet the health and treatment of these patients remains equally important. On page 16, PME talks to AstraZeneca’s Joris Silon about the company’s focus on diagnosing and managing chronic kidney disease, which affects approximately 700 million people worldwide.

Despite the fierce ongoing battle against COVID-19, thanks to the continuing efforts of scientists and healthcare professionals around the world, there are still reasons to be hopeful. And on that note, I wish all our readers a Happy New Year!

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