Scientists, researchers, health officials, regulatory agencies, governments, businesses, universities, and many others across the globe are searching for ways to defeat the coronavirus pandemic.

The immediate response to the global COVID-19 pandemic was to quarantine the sick, create physical distance among the healthy, and triage thousands. But the road to limiting the disease also has led to business, personal, and economic devastation for millions.

While the healthcare industry looks for ways to combat COVID-19, the beat goes on for drug manufacturers to continue developing and seeking marketing approval for medicines to treat many diseases and conditions. Here is a look at some of the most notable U.S. new drug approvals from Jan. 1 through April 17, 2020.

Charles Rosenberg, a historian of medicine and science, observed that viral outbreaks often unfold like a play in three acts. Act 1 is to ignore the mounting threat until it can’t be avoided. Act 2 is a call to arms (citizens demanding an explanation). And Act 3 – the one we are in now – is the response. Act 3, according to Rosenberg, can be “as disruptive as the disease itself.” The potential disruptions from Act 3 of COVID-19 have significant short- and long-term implications. Our proactive responsiveness to those disruptions can help drive success.

David Fajgenbaum’s life changed forever one summer day in 2010. After experiencing fatigue, his liver, kidneys, bone marrow, heart, and lungs suddenly began to shut down. He was admitted to the intensive care unit where doctors found that he had a retinal hemorrhage that left him blind in his left eye. David drifted in and out of consciousness, was put on a feeding tube, and received blood transfusions. In weeks, the 26-year-old medical student sharply deteriorated and was given last rites.

Rare diseases affect more than 30 million Americans. According to the FDA, a rare disease is defined as a disease or condition that has a prevalence of fewer than 200,000 affected individuals in the United States. An orphan product is a drug, biologic, device or medical food used for the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of a rare disease.

Despite advances in technology and our understanding of the genetic and molecular underpinnings of cancer, making a meaningful impact on the survival and quality of life of patients with cancer remains a significant challenge. In fact, a recent review revealed that, among 59 cancer drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration based on the surrogate endpoint of response rate, only six showed overall survival benefit.

As pharma companies bolster their pipelines via multibillion-dollar acquisitions, drug manufacturers continue to heavily invest in the oncology space.

Oncology is one of the most exciting areas in healthcare, as novel therapies continue to emerge that move forward our molecular understanding of the disease and offer effective treatment advances. This Q&A explores oncology innovation with Kantar’s Stephanie Hawthorne, Vice President of Oncology and Specialty Therapeutics.

MedAdNews spoke to Bill Dreitlein, Senior Director, Pipeline & Drug Surveillance at OptumRx, about the state of the industry’s prescription drug pipeline and what enticing prospects will soon emerge.