Taiwan News reports on Taiwan’s herculean efforts to synthesize alternative sources of anti-virals, which is something Americans should be cheering for as we seek to diversify our medical & pharmaceutical supply chains away from a dangerous dependence on China.
Taiwan completes synthesis of potential COVID-19 drug
Favilavir has been used by Japan and China to treat patients with severe symptoms
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s Development Center for Biotechnology (DCB) announced on Monday (March 2) that it has successfully completed the synthesis of favilavir, a drug that could be potentially used to treat Wuhan coronavirus,
The DCB said that in the future, it would work with cGMP manufacturers to produce sufficient antiviral drugs for patients, according to a CNA report.
DCB deputy director Chuang Shih-hsien (莊士賢) said that the center focused on synthesizing favilavir, which was approved for sale in Japan in March 2014 and is mostly used to treat flu patients who do not respond to Tamiflu and Relenza Rotadisk.
Meanwhile, Taiwan is making it clear that it can help. Stanley Kuo, head of Taiwan’s Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO, the de facto Taiwanese Embassy), has written the following in Foreign Policy:
Amid a global health threat, international organizations shouldn’t be playing Beijing’s political games.
he novel coronavirus outbreak has resulted in more than 80,000 confirmed cases and killed nearly 3,000 people worldwide. Its spread has already surpassed the total number of casualties during the SARS crisis in 2002-2003. The World Health Organization (WHO) belatedly declared the outbreak to be a public health emergency of international concern on Jan. 30.
Some 60,000 flights carry 10 million passengers between Taiwan and China every year. Taiwan has an acute interest in protecting its own and the world’s welfare from this latest health threat. After the painful but valuable experience of dealing with SARS in 2003, Taiwan’s government is making maximum and keenly effective efforts to prevent further outbreaks on the island.
However, Taiwan was excluded from the WHO emergency meetings on the new coronavirus crisis. In fact, Taiwan has been denied permission to attend the annual World Health Assembly and WHO technical and experts’ meetings since 2016 due to Beijing’s aggressive attempts at limiting Taiwan’s international participation.
Moreover, data and other related references released by WHO deliberately list coronavirus cases reported by the Taiwanese authorities as under China, regardless of the fact that Taiwan has never been under the jurisdiction of the People’s Republic of China and that travelers around the world deserve to obtain accurate and timely information about the situation. Taiwan, despite confirming only 34 cases as of Feb. 28, is thus listed as “very high risk” by WHO—because the organization will not do the obvious thing and give its information separately from China’s.