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Coronavirus company news summary – UK reports total of 209 blood clot cases after AZ vaccine doses – EMA to review Lilly’s Olumiant for treating hospitalised Covid-19 patients

30 Apr 2021 (Last Updated April 30th, 2021 09:54)

UK medical regulator the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has reported a total of 41 deaths following blood clots among people who received AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine, an increase of nine since last week’s report. MHRA said a total of 209 clots with low platelet counts have now been reported after AstraZeneca vaccine shots, compared with 168 cases reported last week. The examination of blood clots following AstraZeneca vaccine doses showed that the incidence is higher among younger individuals. The regulator, however, maintained that the benefits of the vaccine outweighed its risks, and reported an overall blood clot case incidence of 9.3 per million doses.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) will review Eli Lilly’s arthritis drug Olumiant, for use in hospitalised Covid-19 patients receiving oxygen. The Eli Lilly drug is the latest arthritis medicine being repurposed to fight Covid-19, after Actemra and Kevzara. EMA will review data from two trials conducted among hospitalised patients and announce its results in July, unless it requires additional information. Olumiant was given emergency use authorisation in the US in November 2020 to be used along with remdesivir to treat Covid-19.

Moderna will make further investments to expand the global supply of its Covid-19 vaccine to up to three billion doses in 2022. The vaccine doses could incorporate a mix between Moderna’s approved Covid-19 vaccine at 100μg dose level and lower doses of its variant booster candidates and paediatric vaccines, if approved. The firm will use its cash balance to fund these investments.

Drug developer Brii Biosciences has announced that its Covid-19 monoclonal antibody combination therapy,  BRII-196 and BRII-198, has progressed to Phase III of the ACTIV-2 trial in ambulatory Covid-19 patients. The programme will continue to Phase  III after the Phase II trial on around 220 patients met the safety and efficacy guidelines set by the trial’s independent data safety monitoring board.