19 August 2020 

The Australian Government has entered into an agreement with AstraZeneca for supplies of the company’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate. Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that the deal will provide AstraZeneca’s vaccine to every citizen for free, if it is found to be safe and effective in clinical trials. The government is also considering other vaccine agreements, including with the University of Queensland and its partner CSL.

The new CARE (Corona Accelerated R&D in Europe) consortium has launched in Europe to expedite the discovery and development of medicines against Covid-19. It is supported by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), along with funds from the European Union (EU), eleven European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) companies and three IMI-associated partners. The five-year project brings together 37 teams across academic and non-profit research institutions and pharmaceutical companies globally.

Vanda Pharmaceuticals has reported positive data from an interim analysis of Phase III ODYSSEY clinical trial of tradipitant in hospitalised patients with Covid-19 pneumonia. Results showed that a 14-day therapy with the drug expedited clinical improvement by day 7, when compared to placebo. This data is based on a preliminary analysis of the initial 60 participants in ODYSSEY, which launched in April.

Therapure Biomanufacturing has partnered with VBI Vaccines to produce their Covid-19 vaccine candidates. Therapure will carry out the biomanufacturing of the vaccine drug substance and the aseptic fill of the drug product at its facility in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has provided clearance to conduct Phase III clinical trial of a Covid-19 vaccine candidate being developed by China’s CanSino Biologics and Beijing Institute of Biotechnology. National Institute of Health (NIH) and pharmaceutical company AJM will lead the trial, which is set to commence next month and expected to enrol 10,000 participants.

Brazilian health regulators have approved a large-scale Phase III clinical trial of Johnson & Johnson‘s Covid-19 vaccine candidate. J&J unit Janssen will conduct the trial in around 7,000 participants across seven states in the country. Brazil has already approved Phase III trials of three other vaccine candidates, including those by AstraZeneca, Sinovac Biotech, and Pfizer/BioNTech.