Coronavirus drugs could be available by summer: US Vice President Pence

Combo image of (Left) a worker wearing a mask walking to her car at the Life Care Center of Kirkland, the long-term care facility linked to several confirmed coronavirus cases in the state, in Kirkland, Washington and U.S. President Donald Trump flanked by Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar (not in picture) during a meeting with pharmaceutical executives to discuss developing a coronavirus vaccine in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, U.S, Monday. Photo: Reuters

Washington: Drugs to treat the novel coronavirus could be available by this summer or fall, US Vice President Mike Pence said Monday.

"The vaccine may not be available until late this year or early next, but the therapeutics to give relief to the people who contract the coronavirus could be available by summer or early fall," he told a news conference.

The Gilead drug remdesivir has already been used to treat one infected patient in the US as part of a trial, and the intravenous antiviral is also being deployed in trials in Asia.

Other notable potential treatments include one being developed by Regeneron that uses monoclonal antibodies to fight the infection. The same strategy has been shown to be effective against Ebola.

Meanwhile, the number of deaths in the US from the deadly coronavirus rose to six on Monday while the total number of confirmed cases in the country crossed 90, Vice President Mike Pence has said, as the novel virus continues to spread around the world despite travel restrictions.

All the six deaths in the US are from the Washington state with 43 domestic cases and 48 cases of the individuals who returned to the US, officials said on Monday.

The coronavirus outbreak that started in China's Wuhan city in December has killed 2,943 people in the country with total confirmed cases crossing 80,000 as it continues to spread to new countries around the world.

US President Donald Trump along with Pence reviewed the situation at the White House on Monday with top health officials and those leaders from the pharma corporate sector who are working on either vaccine or therapeutics for the COVID-19.