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May 20, 2021

Coronavirus company news summary – UK launches trial of third-dose booster vaccines – Histogen and Amerimmune report potential benefits of emricasan against Covid-19

By Chris Lo

The UK has launched a study to ascertain whether a third booster dose of Covid-19 vaccines can offer greater protection and immunity against the virus. The trial, called Cov-Boost, is expected to enrol 2,886 participants and will look into seven different Covid-19 vaccines as potential boosters, including those from AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, Novavax, Johnson & Johnson, Valneva, and CureVac. The third shots will be administered to people who have already received two doses of the Pfizer or AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, with initial findings expected to be reported in September.

Clinical-stage therapeutics company Histogen and its partner Amerimmune have reported pan-caspase inhibitor emricasan’s potential in vitro benefit in acute and long-haul phases of Covid-19 in Allergy, the journal of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. The study found that when administered orally, emricasan can reduce caspase-related inflammation in tissues, thereby potentially helping in the treatment and prevention of downstream Covid-19-related complications. The drug is currently being studied in a Phase I trial in mild-symptomatic Covid-19 patients at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in New York, with the study expected to complete in the second quarter of 2021.

Mumbai-headquartered drugmaker BDR Pharma has signed a non-exclusive licensing agreement with Eli Lilly to manufacture and distribute baricitinib, a repurposed drug for treating Covid-19. The partnership is intended to increase the availability of the drug in India. BDR has also submitted a request to the Drugs Controller General of India for restricted emergency use of the drug for Covid-19.

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