30 April 2020 

Preliminary data from a clinical trial led by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) showed that Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir led to faster recovery in Covid-19 patients. Results showed a 31% faster time to recovery in patients treated with Gilead’s drug versus placebo. The median time to recovery was 11 days versus 15 days, respectively.

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) subsidiary Janssen has partnered with Catalent for the manufacturing of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate. Catalent’s Biologics business unit will enable manufacturing as well as prepare for large-scale commercial production at its facility in Bloomington, US. J&J signed its first manufacturing deal with Emergent BioSolutions last week.

The UK Government has launched a new clinical trial programme called ACCORD to fast-track the development of new drugs to treat hospitalised Covid-19 patients. Designed to cut the time taken to start trials from months to weeks, the initiative will initially involve six drug candidates. BerGenBio‘s AXL kinase inhibitor bemcentinib is the first candidate to enter the ACCORD programme.

BioNTech and Pfizer have completed dosing participants in the first cohort of a Phase I/II clinical trial being conducted to assess Covid-19 vaccine candidate BNT162 in Germany. Dosing was commenced on 23 April and 12 volunteers have received the vaccine so far. The companies also intend to launch trials of the vaccine candidate in the US.

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Guwahati has partnered with domestic pharmaceutical company Hester Biosciences to develop a potential Covid-19 vaccine candidate. The vaccine, which will build on recombinant avian paramyxovirus-based vector platform, is expected to be ready for animal studies by the end of this year.

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