Coronavirus company news summary – US invests in AZ’s Covid-19 antibody treatment – Glenmark’s umifenovir combo shows no benefit

12 October 2020 (Last Updated October 12th, 2020 09:44)

AstraZeneca has received an investment of approximately $486m from the US Government to develop and supply its long-acting antibody (LAAB) cocktail, AZD7442, for Covid-19 treatment. The company intends to supply up to 100,000 doses of the therapy beginning towards the end of 2020. In the coming weeks, AZD7442 will progress into two Phase III trials in a total of over 6,000 subjects enrolled at sites across the US and other countries.

India-based Glenmark Pharmaceuticals has reported that the combination of umifenovir and favipiravir failed to demonstrated significant benefit, compared to favipiravir alone, in hospitalised patients with moderate Covid-19. Data showed that umifenovir did not lead to superior clinical outcomes when added to favipiravir. Based on the results, the company said that favipiravir along with supportive care remains an effective treatment option for mild to moderate Covid-19 cases.

UK researchers are conducting a clinical trial to test the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine, which is currently used to protect babies from tuberculosis, for its ability to protect against Covid-19. The UK arm of the large-scale, global study is being led by the University of Exeter. Named BRACE, the trial will involve more than 10,000 healthcare staff and care home workers across the UK, Australia, the Netherlands, Spain, and Brazil.

The New Zealand Government has entered into an agreement with Pfizer and BioNTech for 1.5 million doses of the companies’ Covid-19 vaccine candidate, with supply expected in the first quarter of 2021. This deal marks the first vaccine purchase by New Zealand and will see doses sufficient to vaccinate 750,000 people. In addition, Pfizer Canada and BioNTech have begun a rolling submission to Health Canada for the potential Covid-19 vaccine.