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July 29, 2020

Coronavirus company news summary – UK Government signs supply agreement with Sanofi/GSK – Roche’s Actemra fails to bring clinical benefit to hospitalised patients

By Allie Nawrat

29 July 2020 

Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) have signed an agreement with the UK Government to supply up to 60 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine candidate. The companies added that discussions are underway with global organisations, the US and the EU Commission for the supply of the vaccine.

Roche has reported that its Actemra/RoActemra (tocilizumab) drug has failed to meet the primary endpoint of improved clinical status in Phase III COVACTA clinical trial involving hospitalised adults with severe Covid-19 related pneumonia. While the key secondary endpoints were also not achieved, data showed a positive trend in time to hospital discharge with the drug.

Health Canada has granted conditional authorisation to Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir (Veklury) to treat adults and adolescents with severe Covid-19 who have pneumonia and need oxygen support. Remdesivir is the first drug approved in the country for treating Covid-19.

Clinical trials of a second Covid-19 vaccine candidate in Russia have commenced at the Vector Virology Institute in Siberia, according to RIA news agency. The first five participants were dosed on 27 July. The country’s first potential Covid-19 vaccine had already completed an early-stage trial this month and is expected to advance into large-scale trials next month.

Serum Institute of India is set to perform a Phase III clinical trial to assess the ability of its BCG vaccine candidate VPM1002 in decreasing infection and severe disease outcomes of Covid-19. According to the Department of Biotechnology, the trial will enrol approximately 6,000 healthcare workers and people at high risk of contracting the disease.

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