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January 4, 2022updated 07 Jan 2022 6:16am

Coronavirus company news summary – Belgium to procure oral courses of Pfizer and Merck – FDA retains gap between Moderna second shot and booster

By Vishnu Priyan

Belgium has agreed to procure 10,000 courses of the Covid-19 oral antiviral pills Paxlovid and molnupiravir, developed by Pfizer and Merck (MSD), respectively, Reuters quoted an emailed statement from Belgian health ministry spokesman. In December last year, the country’s health minister said that the government was holding discussions with Merck to purchase its therapy while the Belgian health authorities recommended purchasing both molnupiravir and Paxlovid. During the same time, France had cancelled its order to buy molnupiravir, co-developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has retained the gap between administering a second dose of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine and a booster shot at six months. Reuters quoted FDA Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock as saying on a press call: “Right now if you got J&J you get a booster after two months, if you got Pfizer as your primary series you can get a booster at five months or beyond if you got Moderna you can get a booster at six months or beyond whatever you decide to get a booster of.”

Celltrion has reported data from an experiment where its monoclonal antibody CT-P63 demonstrated to retain neutralising activity against the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Furthermore, in a randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind Phase I clinical trial, CT-P63 met its primary goals and was found to be safe and well-tolerated. The trial enrolled 24 healthy participants to analyse the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of CT-P63 and found no substantial treatment-associated adverse events. CT-P63 acts on the spike receptor-binding domain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

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