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Tuesday, May 19, 2020

HHS COVID-19 Update, 5/19/2020

Expanding Pharmaceutical Capacity: HHS released information about a new partnership to expand pharmaceutical production in the US. HHS will work with a team of private industry partners led by Phlow Corporation of Richmond, Virginia, to expand pharmaceutical manufacturing in the United States for use in producing medicines needed during the COVID-19 response and future public health emergencies. The Phlow-led team will provide immediate, U.S.-based capacity to produce the active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and the chemical compounds for those ingredients to make critical medicines to help alleviate or prevent drug shortages, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The drug ingredients will be manufactured at facilities in the United States. Under the four-year, $354 million agreement with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), the Phlow-led team will manufacture the supplies for medicines for patients hospitalized with COVID-19. The contract can be extended for up to a total of $812 million over a total of 10 years to maintain the system and supplies.

Updates from Administration Call with Governors: Yesterday, the President, First Lady, Vice President, Secretary Azar and others participated in a call with Governors on the COVID-19 Response. The First Lady focused on the importance of addressing mental health and well-being during the pandemic, especially for children. She issued a call to action for Governor’s, asking that they designate child welfare staff as first responders to give them access to PPE. During the call, Dr. Birx provided an update on States expanding their entire testing ecosystem, including testing in nursing homes; Dr. Tony Fauci provided an overview of vaccine development through Project Warp Speed and additional Remdesivir distribution; and HHS Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Dr. Ellie McCance-Katz shared a critical perspective about the negative effects that quarantine and social isolation can have on mental health.

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