Coronavirus company news summary – FDA considers unpausing AstraZeneca trial – Brazil signs up to COVAX

25 September 2020 (Last Updated September 25th, 2020 09:38)

25 September 2020 

US-based biotechnology firm Novavax has started the first Phase III clinical trial of its potential Covid-19 vaccine, NVX-CoV2373, in the UK. Performed with the UK Government’s Vaccines Taskforce, the trial will investigate the safety, efficacy and immunogenicity of NVX-CoV2373. The study is designed to recruit up to 10,000 participants aged 18 to 84 years, with and without relevant comorbidities, over the coming four to six weeks.

Brazil is set to join the COVAX Facility, a Covid-19 vaccine initiative focused on equitable access, and has committed BRL2.5bn ($453.8m) to secure vaccines via the initiative. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro will provide decrees on the legal groundwork for the country to join COVAX, which is expected to provide enough supplies to vaccinate 10% of Brazil’s population by the end of next year.

Lumen Bioscience has received nearly $4m grant from the US Army Medical Research and Development Command to create a rapid, scalable and cost-effective biologic drug cocktail for treating gastrointestinal infection in Covid-19 patients, as well as potentially blocking disease transmission. The grant will support development through the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigational new drug filing and initial engineering work for a large-scale manufacturing facility.

The US FDA is yet to provide authorisation for AstraZeneca to resume its Covid-19 vaccine trial in the country, nearly three weeks following a pause over safety concerns. The US regulators are still investigating an illness in one of the trial participants, even after the clinical programme restarted in the UK and other countries, according to Reuters.