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Fighting coronavirus

Fighting Coronavirus

Innovation is one of humanity's best tools to fight the threat of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Technologies that have been developed in response to earlier pandemics, e.g. the HIV pandemic and the influenza pandemic of 1968, can already save lives today. Massive R&D investments are now being directed towards developing new technology responses to the virus, and the leap in COVID-19 related innovations is reflected in every imaginable sector from pharmaceuticals to disinfectants and from IT diagnostics to smart furniture.

Patents play an important role in this context. They not only create incentives for companies and universities to invest in research, but also provide inventors with a rich source of technical information, often published nowhere else. Indeed, all patent applications worldwide are disclosed and made easily accessible to the public, which enables scientists and entrepreneurs to tap into a vast source of knowledge and inspiration to develop new inventions.

The EPO is committed to share with the public the most advanced patent information and knowledge on technologies which are useful in combating the virus or treating the disease it causes, fulfilling our vision that our work will contribute to a safer, smarter and more sustainable world. For this purpose, EPO patent examiners who are experts in the technologies directed to the fight against coronavirus infections, together with our expert patent analysts, have created a variety of search statements to help scientists identify the most relevant documents in these technical fields.

These search strategies are especially suited to run on the EPO's free to use online patent search interface: Espacenet. This public database contains more than 120 million published patent applications from more than 100 intellectual property authorities from around the world. These documents disclose inventions, the patents for which may or may not be in force at that time or in a particular territory. The EPO provides online training on how to use and make the most of Espacenet.

The EPO already delivers comprehensive patent searches for applications in all areas of technology in 4,4 months on average. For applicants who require a fast track patent procedure, regardless of the technology they are developing, the EPO offers accelerated prosecution of European patent applications free of charge. Applications will be automatically accelerated if a third party files observations.

Vaccines

Vaccine

Our patent examiners have prepared these searches related to patents or patent applications for vaccines against coronaviruses which you can explore for yourself:

  • All vaccines against coronaviruses
    This search statement provides an overview of vaccines specifically directed against coronaviruses or coronaviruses proteins. The limitation to vaccines is achieved by the classes A61K39/215 (vaccine against coronavirus) or C12N2770/20034 (coronavirus component as a vaccine).

  • Live attenuated or inactivated vaccines
    In this category of vaccines, the immune response against the coronavirus is induced by a pharmaceutical composition comprising a full virus that has been rendered inactive or attenuated, for example by chemical treatment or genetic manipulation.

  • Virus-like particles
    In this category of vaccines virus-like particles (VLPs ) are used. Virus-like particles are comparable to viruses but do not contain genetic information. They correspond to an empty shell that contains a coronavirus protein. The absence of genetic information abolishes the risk of viral replication and propagation.

  • Viral vectors as vaccines
    In this category of vaccines, a virus that is non-pathogenic for man, for example an adenovirus, has been modified to express a coronavirus protein. Viral vectors expressing foreign proteins are widely used to induce a strong immune response against various pathogens, including viruses.

  • Nucleic acid-based vaccines
    In this category of vaccines, a nucleic acid molecule encoding a protein of a coronavirus, for example the spike protein of SARS CoV-2, is introduced into a host, optionally delivered in a formulation comprising liposomes. The nucleic acid is often modified to improve the level and duration of expression of the immunogen in human cells.

  •  Antigen-presenting cells
    In this category of vaccines, antigen-presenting cells (APCs), including macrophages and dendritic cells (DCs), are used to present coronavirus protein fragments on their surface.

  • Nanoparticles
    In this category of vaccines, particles that are formulated with a coronavirus protein or nucleic acid are used. Such particles are readily internalized into immune cells. Nanoparticles can be organic-based, for example liposomes or polymeric nanoparticles, or inorganic-based such as gold nanoparticles.

  • Adjuvanted vaccines
    In this category of vaccines, additional molecules are introduced to potentiate the immune response to the coronavirus protein or nucleic acid.

  • Administration route
    There are numerous possible routes of administration. Vaccines are often administered subcutaneously or intramuscularly; however other routes such as intranasal, mucosal or oral administration can also be used against coronavirus infection.

Patent analytics gives a deeper dive into the patent landscape. Our patent analysts have created a spreadsheet containing all the search strategies, datasets for vaccines against coronavirus patents and additional statistics in one place for you to download. You can also run the search strategies on your own platform or analyse the datasets yourself.

Overview of candidate therapies for COVID-19

Candidate therapies

The following queries provide an overview of small organic-molecule/peptide based therapies for coronavirus, resulting from the intersection of key-word search terms for the disease and the IPC and CPC classes A61K31, A61K38 and A61K45/06 for the compounds. Antibodies and nucleic acids are not included in this analysis, see the fourth accordion below: “Nucleic acids and antibodies to fight coronavirus”.


For a general overview of candidate therapies for diseases caused by coronaviruses in general, see here:


Patent analytics gives a deeper dive into the patent landscape. Our patent analysts have created a spreadsheet containing all the search strategies and datasets for patents for candidate therapies for fighting diseases caused by coronaviruses, as well as additional statistics in one place for you to download. You can also run the search strategies on your own platform or analyse the datasets yourself.

Candidate antiviral and symptomatic therapeutics

Antiviral

Candidate antiviral therapeutics

The following section contains a selection of small organic-molecule/peptide based antiviral drug candidates with potential activity against SARS-CoV-2. Because research is rapidly evolving, this list is non-exhaustive. The hits retrieved for a specific query contain patent families relating to the specific drug and also to drugs with a similar chemical structure which are classified in the same class. This is a consequence of the “OR” operator between the classes and key-words used.

Candidate symptomatic therapeutics

The following section contains a selection of small organic-molecule/peptide based drug candidates which may potentially have a beneficial effect on the symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 in infected patients. Because research is rapidly evolving, this list is non-exhaustive. The hits retrieved for a specific query contain patent families relating to the specific drug and also to drugs with a similar chemical structure which are classified in the same class. This is a consequence of the “OR” operator between the classes and key-words used. (Each of the listed drug candidates includes a hyperlink to Espacenet and the search statement)


Patent analytics gives a deeper dive into the patent landscape. Our patent analysts have created a spreadsheet containing all the search strategies and datasets for patents for antiviral and symptomatic therapeutics for fighting coronavirus, as well as additional statistics in one place for you to download. You can also run the search strategies on your own platform or analyse the datasets yourself.

Nucleic acids and antibodies to fight coronavirus

Nucleic acid

Nucleic acids to treat coronavirus infections

The following section identifies classes of nucleic acid molecules that interfere with the coronavirus infection or mediate the immune response induced by the viral infection. Antisense, small interfering RNA or nucleic acids that associate with a nuclease (CRISPR/Cas) directly inactivate the viral expression and/or replication. Aptamers bind to and inactivate viral or cellular proteins, thereby inhibiting coronavirus infection. The immunomodulatory nucleic acid do not act directly on the virus but modulate the immune anti-viral response. (Each of the listed classes of nucleic acid molecules includes a hyperlink to Espacenet and the search statement)

Antibodies against coronaviruses

The following query identifies antibodies against coronaviruses and their use in therapy. These antibodies inhibit either receptor binding and/or viral entry or induce the elimination of infected cells.


Patent analytics gives a deeper dive into the patent landscape. Our patent analysts have created a spreadsheet containing all the search strategies and datasets for patents for nucleic acids and antibodies for fighting coronavirus, as well as additional statistics in one place for you to download. You can also run the search strategies on your own platform or analyse the datasets yourself.

The use of the EPO’s website, downloads, data and information tools are subject to the EPO’s standard terms and conditions. See especially the terms of use for Espacenet.