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December 8, 2021updated 07 Jan 2022 5:34am

Coronavirus company news summary – EC authorises Actemra/RoActemra for Covid-19 treatment – Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine partially effective against Omicron

By Darcy Jimenez

The European Commission (EC) has extended marketing authorisation for Roche’s Actemra/RoActemra (tocilizumab) enabling its use for Covid-19 treatment. The drug was approved for use in adult Covid-19 patients receiving systemic treatment with corticosteroids and requiring supplemental oxygen support or mechanical ventilation. The EC made the decision following a recommendation by the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use. The EMA committee endorsed Actemra/RoActemra after assessing results from four studies.

A study by the Africa Health Research Institute in South Africa has indicated that two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine can offer only partial protection against the Covid-19 Omicron variant. Africa Health Research Institute professor Alex Sigal opined that the neutralisation of the Omicron variant was lower compared with earlier strain. According to a Reuters report, the study suggests that booster doses may help in reducing infection risks.

Clover Biopharmaceuticals has signed a long-term agreement (LTA) with UNICEF to supply its Covid-19 vaccine candidate SCB-2019 (CpG 1018/Alum) to the COVAX Facility. The LTA will provide UNICEF with access to up to 414 million doses of SCB-2019 until the end of next year. Earlier this year, Clover signed an advance purchase agreement with GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, to supply the vaccines.

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