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October 8, 2021

Coronavirus company news summary – EMA approves Merck plant to produce J&J vaccines for Europe – Vaxart oral tablet vaccine reduces SARS-CoV-2 transmission in preclinical study

By Chris Lo

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has approved Merck’s plant in Pennsylvania, US to manufacture Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine. The approval is expected to help in ensuring a continued supply of Covid-19 vaccine Janssen in the European Union (EU). The site can start production immediately. EMA said it is working with all marketing authorisation holders to boost the supply of vaccines.

A Duke University-led study has found that Vaxart’s investigational oral tablet vaccine reduced the airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 virus in an animal model. The results are aligned with those from Vaxart’s Phase II human flu challenge study. The tablet vaccine candidate is designed to target the SARS-CoV-2 viral spike protein. Earlier this week, Vaxart started recruiting for a global Phase II clinical trial of the candidate.

Indonesia has granted an emergency use approval for a Covid-19 vaccine made by a unit of China’s Chongqing Zhifei Biological Products. The Zifivax vaccine is the fourth Chinese vaccine to be greenlit by the Southeast Asian nation. Indonesia’s food and drug agency (BPOM) chief Penny Lukito told Reuters that the protein-recombinant vaccine has an efficacy of around 81%. It will be administered in three doses within a period of three months.

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