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April 20, 2020

Coronavirus company news summary – NIH coordinates high-level international public-private partnership – Gilead’s remdesivir shown to be effective in monkeys – Incyte and Novartis study JAK1/2 inhibitor in Covid-19

By Allie Nawrat

20 April 2020

Incyte has started a Phase III clinical trial of ruxolitinib (Jakafi) plus standard-of-care (SoC) to treat the cytokine storm caused by Covid-19 infection. Named RUXCOVID, the 400-participant, global trial is funded by Incyte in the US and Novartis outside of the US. Jakafi is a JAK1/JAK2 inhibitor approved for polycythemia vera, myelofibrosis and graft-versus-host disease.

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) is set to launch an international public-private partnership, which will bring together health agencies and pharmaceutical companies to accelerate Covid-19 drugs and vaccines. The Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) partnership involves the US Food and Drug Administration, the European Medicines Agency, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and GlaxoSmithKline, among others.

Researchers at the University of Southampton in the UK have announced plans to conduct the clinical trial of a Covid-19 vaccine, which has been developed by the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute and Oxford Vaccine Group. The trial will enrol up to 510 healthy participants aged 18 to 55 years.

Data from a study in the US has found that early treatment with Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir significantly decreased clinical disease and lung damage in rhesus macaques monkeys infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. The findings have been published on preprint website, bioRxiv.

Tel Aviv University scientist Jonathan Gershoni has secured a US patent for the design of a vaccine that is said to act on the most vulnerable target in a coronavirus’s structure, receptor binding motif (RBM), which is required for the virus to infect host cell. Gershoni’s team is working on reconstituting the new SARS CoV2’s RBM and will use it as a basis for a new vaccine.

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