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By Karina Daiha and Julian Cornelius 

Since the arrival of the new Coronavirus in Brazil, the BRPTO has adopted several measures to assist in fighting the pandemic. These initiatives include preventing the spread of the virus, providing information on technologies related to the diagnostic and treatment of COVID-19, as well as prioritising patent applications of related technologies.

1. Preventing the Spread of the Virus

Since March 20, 2020, all BRPTO’s team are working from home, and all the deadlines are suspended until the present. Moreover, in-person attendance to the public has been temporarily interrupted.

2. Information on Technologies related to COVID-19:

Recently, the BRPTO published three studies on technologies related to the new Coronavirus:

  • Brazilian patent applications directed to methods for diagnosing respiratory viruses;
  • Relevant technologies in the area of pulmonary ventilators;
  • The existing worldwide research related to the drug Remdesivir, and the corresponding Brazilian patent applications.

The full studies (in Portuguese) can be accessed here.

One of the most relevant results of the two first studies is the low participation of Brazilian applicants. Among the patent applications related to pulmonary ventilators, only 16% are from applicants residing in Brazil. National companies and research institutions were not among the applications identified as directed to diagnostic methods for Coronavirus.

Another notable outcome is the high percentage of dismissed applications – 49% and 51% of the patent applications related to diagnostic methods and pulmonary ventilators, respectively.

Gilead Sciences’ Remdesivir is a drug that has a broad spectrum antiviral action with potent in vitro activity against a diverse panel of RNA viruses, such as Ebola, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV. Several important studies suggest that Remdesivir is a potentially promising compound for the treatment of COVID-19 in adults.

On May 1, 2020, Remdesivir was approved by the FDA for emergency treatment of COVID-19 in the United States. The Brazilian National Health Authority (ANVISA) still evaluating whether to approve the treatment with Rendesivir or not.

The BRPTO’s study found 6 patent applications from the North American Company Gilead Sciences related to the drug Remdesivir filed in Brazil. None of the patent applications has a final decision by the BRPTO. However, 2 applications are under technical examination (PI0910455 and PI0911410), 3 are with ANVISA awaiting prior approval (BR102015027413, BR112017007636 and BR112018005048) and 1 is awaiting PCT admissibility examination (BR112013001553).

3. Prioritization of Patent Applications Related to the New Coronavirus

In April, the BRPTO published a Rule prioritizing patent applications related to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The examination of such applications may be accelerated by request filed both by the applicant and the Brazilian Ministry of Health. The latter is currently responsible for almost 79% of the requests.

The applications to be prioritized at the request of the Ministry of Health are related not only to Remdesivir, but Tocilizumab, Sarilumab and Favipiravir. Respectively, they correspond to 3.33%, 61.11%, 13.33% and 3.33% of the total requests received by the BRPTO so far.

If you would like more information or if we can be of assistance in this difficult time please do not hesitate to get in touch.